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Passengers feeling the pinch as train fares rise
TRAIN passengers are disappointed with the rise in ticket prices across the UK after the government increased rail fares.
Train fares across the UK saw an average increase of 2.8% from Thursday December 2.
Louise Baker, a mother of 2 from Bridgwater, said: “It goes up every year and it makes it cost prohibitive.
“We would use the train more often but without a family rail card it's too expensive. I don't understand how commuters can afford to go by train.”
Chancellor George Osborne said in last month's Autumn Statement he would keep fares in line with July's Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation rate of 3.1%.
The increase is the smallest rise in four years, but critics say the fares are rising faster than incomes.
Louise said: “A day out to London is too expensive. We would go by coach now but we'd much prefer to go on the train.”
Ryan, a student at Bridgwater College, said: “I have a railcard but you have to go on a lot of journeys for it to be worth it.
“I would like to go see my family who live up north but it costs almost £120 to go to Lancaster.”
A return ticket from Bridgwater station to London can cost as much as £72.50, although that price is brought down if you book well in advance.
Jon Shaw, Professor of Transport Geography at Plymouth University, said: “At least this year passengers see some relief as regulated fares will rise only in line with inflation, but we're still getting appalling value for money.”
According to Prof Shaw, in the four decades leading up to the early 2000s, the UK spent on average 40% less annually as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) on its transport infrastructure than other leading economies in Europe.
However that is starting to change. Prof Shaw said: “It's true we're seeing impressive levels of investment in the railways at the moment - more than I can ever remember, actually - but there was no real alternative given how little we've spent in the last decades.”
Doris, 70, takes the train regularly from Bridgwater. She said: “Tickets are not too pricy if you're just going to Taunton or other short trips.”
A peak return ticket from Bridgwater to Taunton costs £7.90. Doris said: “Not so many people are getting away with not paying since they improved security in Taunton.”
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