St Albans MP urges restraint in rail fares hike

ST ALBANS MP Anne Main has urged First Capital Connect (FCC) to keep their fare increases to the bare minimum, following a meeting with the rail operator on Friday.

The increases are due to come into force in January next year and could see some regulated ticket prices rise by up to 13 per cent.

The government has told operators that they will be reducing the amount of money given to them by RPI (five per cent) plus three per cent, which will be passed on to customers.

However, the government has also given them the flexibility to increase fares by an additional five per cent on top of this. Mrs Main sought assurances that FCC would try to limit fares to the eight per cent increase and not take the opportunity to increase fares further.

Larry Heyman, integration and partnership manager at FCC, said: “We are aware that there is tremendous pressure at the moment and we intend to keep increases as near as possible to the eight per cent. We have to pass this on as the government will take the money from us whether we do it or not.”

Anne said: “I am concerned to make the views of my constituents crystal clear; they want a good service with extra standard fare capacity and fares as low as possible. Last winter my constituents had an appalling time; this year this must not be repeated.”

n First Capital Connect is aiming to reduce the number of first class seats on its services by December, to create more for standard fare passengers.

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There are currently two first class compartments per four car train, but this is to be reduced to one, creating an additional 10 seats in time for the December timetable change.