Passengers to face rise in rail fares

RAIL fares for some journeys are set to go up by about 10% next month.

RAIL fares for some journeys are set to go up by about 10% next month.

A standard return fare from Ipswich to London - valid at any time - is set to increase from £53 to £58, a rise of 9.5pc.

And the popular Anglia Plus one-day ticket, which gives unlimited travel on local routes, is set to increase from £12 to £13. The cost of a “three out of seven day” Anglia Plus ticket is going up from £24 to £26.

The increases are coming in as the rail industry starts rationalising the tickets it offers.

In future rail companies across the country will sell only three types of ticket - advance, which are bought before the day of travel, off-peak, which do not allow travel at the rush-hour, and anytime.

There are also new restrictions being introduced on the use of off-peak tickets. Now passengers with off-peak tickets will not be able to arrive in London before 10am and will not be able to leave the capital between 4.29pm and 6.34pm.

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Rail fares last went up at the start of the year, but Peter Meades from National Express East Anglia said these changes affected fares that had not be changed then.

He said: “Different types of train tickets are changed at different times of the year. These are unregulated fares which did not increase in January.

“There could be adjustments to other fares in September, which is when the full rebranding of tickets is introduced across the network.”

Although the name of Saver tickets is changing, as their price is regulated by the Office of the Rail Regulator, the fares themselves cannot change until January next year.

Pete Biggs, spokesman for Passenger Focus said: “These are raises well above the rate of inflation.

“Passengers will have to dig deep into their pockets and they will be seen as unjustified.

“If passengers are paying more and more they expect to get good service - when they don't companies should freeze the prices.”

Passengers heading for London over the MayDay bank holiday weekend should brace themselves for problematic journeys.

Liverpool Street station will be closed on Sunday and Monday - May 4/5 - and there will also be extensive engineering work on the main line in Essex, closing the route at Manningtree.

Network Rail managers will be desperate to avoid engineering problems which caused delays to the line reopening after major engineering work at Christmas and Easter - however commuters are likely to face the return to work on May 6 with considerable apprehension.