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Proposed hike in rail fares condemned by Aire Valley Rail Users’ Group
8:50am Sunday 26th August 2012 in Skipton & District
Rail passengers on the Airedale line are facing a massive hike in fares.
Ticket prices are set to soar by an average of 8.2 per cent.
The planned increase has been condemned by rail users.
Fare rises, to come into force in January, are based on last month’s 3.2 per cent inflation rate and Government rules allowing operators to set their figure at up to three per cent higher.
But Tim Calow, chairman of Aire Valley Rail Users’ Group, said in West Yorkshire passengers faced an additional two per cent increase to pay for extra rolling stock acquired back in 2006.
“We are concerned about the price increases on a national and local level,” he said.
“On a national level earnings have not been increasing in line with inflation, which means many commuters will be hard hit by these substantial increases at a time when their budgets are already stretched.
“Locally we are concerned about the extra two per cent increase planned for West Yorkshire fares which means the rise will average 8.2 per cent.
“At the same time the plans for investment in local railways are limited.
“On Airedale the need to run longer trains with more seats has been recognised for a number of years, but there are still no dates for the implementation of the scheme to lengthen platforms or for the acquisition of additional trains.”
He added: “Customers who regularly have to stand on overcrowded peak-hour trains will rightly be angered by the fare increases.”
A spokesman for Northern Rail, which runs services on the Airedale line, said: “The cost of our average journey is just £2.35 and travelling with Northern is often cheaper and quicker than using the car or the bus for similar journeys.
“However, we know these are difficult financial times, which is why we will continue to work with the Government and the wider rail industry to drive down the cost of running the railway.”