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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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February
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Train Ticket Price Increases

Sat, 03 Feb 2007

There seems to have been much written on the recent train ticket price increases. Whilst some fares remain protected (to an extent), others do not. To take the route I travel, for example, a day peak return ticket in to London costs 22 and, in fact, remains unchanged. To Surbiton it used to cost 22.40 and has now risen to 26. A staggering 16% rise. Changes like this simply cannot be excused and the Labour government has done a pretty poor job of maintaining a balanced rail system. Yes, since privatisation we have new trains, mostly punctual trains and, generally, a better service (although try telling that to people traveling on First Great Western). However the single biggest sticking point has been the HUGE cost this has entailed. Someone really needs to unravel, in simple-speak, what is actually going on. We have had large increases in train passengers, apparently large increases in road travel and rapidly rising costs. I appreciate that it is difficult to absorb rapid increases in passenger numbers but it really doesn't seem to be handled very well. And in the middle of all this we have Labour sitting, looking very smug. And it is ironic that the face of "integrated transport" (NOT) in the UK has been John Prescott; I can't imagine a worse public image to present...

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