Peak hours train rates 'to start earlier and cost more' under new plans
The Metro: By John Higginson - 8th March, 2012
Train commuters are facing even higher ticket prices in peak hours under plans to cut billions of pounds of spending on the railways.
Passengers, already condemned to above-inflation fare rises for years to come, were told peak hours would be extended and ‘super-peak’ rates could be introduced at the busiest times.
The ideas, such as starting peak evening hours at 3pm rather than 5pm, were put forward by transport secretary Justine Greening to ‘smooth demand’ in rush hours.
She also wants to close ticket offices and sell tickets through libraries and shops instead.
Her plans outraged passenger groups, who said commuters had little choice over when to travel, and unions, who threatened to strike over any cuts to staffing, pay or conditions.
Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: ‘The affordable, walk-up railway could easily disappear as passengers are forced to be inflexible and book ahead.’
The shake-up is proposed in the government’s response to transport expert Sir Roy McNulty’s comprehensive review of the railways last year.
He claimed rail spending could be lopped by a third – or £3.5billion – and pointed an accusing finger at high pay for rail staff.
Ms Greening argued her plans would ‘root out inefficiency so we can deliver real value for money that ends inflation-busting fare rises once and for all’.
Labour said ‘the interests of private train companies are being put before those of passengers’.
And the RMT union called the plans ‘a recipe for exploitation’ that would ‘rob passengers blind’.
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/892603-peak-hours-train-rates-to-start-earlier-and-cost-more-under-new-plans#ixzz1oazx3vwK