East Anglia: U-turn on tickets for Games helpers

TRAVEL bosses have made a U-turn and will be offering discounted rail fares to Olympic Games volunteers this summer.

Outraged helpers had previously expressed their dismay at having to fork out for travel costs to volunteer at London 2012 while spectators were offered special fares.

But an agreement between Train Operating Companies and the Department for Transport has been struck, meaning Olympics and Paralympics volunteers travelling to the Games from outside London will be able to take advantage of special fares.

Lynda Cooper, 59, will be travelling to Stratford on 11 occasions to volunteer at the Games, which would have set her back about �300.

Mrs Cooper, of Barham, near Ipswich, said: “It sounds like good news to me, but I will need to look at prices.

“I will be buying 11 tickets at some stage, unless the season ticket works out cheaper.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as a volunteer but it did seem a bit rich that spectators, who will be vast in numbers compared to volunteers, were getting the better deal.”

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The special train tickets can be used by Games volunteers to travel to and from London and other co-host cities including Coventry, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Weymouth.

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Without these volunteers, the Games simply could not happen. They are the true ‘Games Makers’, so it is only right they have access to these good-value, flexible fares.

“Our railways will also have a vital role to play in the Games, with more than a hundred extra services running each day and trains starting earlier and continuing later into the night,” she added.

Two types of special tickets will be available to volunteers – Games Advance tickets and Games Day tickets – while volunteers with Railcards will also be able to get a third off the price of the ticket.

David Mapp, commercial director at the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Volunteers will have a vital role to play during the Games, ensuring that events run smoothly and providing help and information to spectators.

“The special rail tickets will give them good-value, flexible fares that meet the needs of volunteers working at the Games.”

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