Rail fare hike will make train travel 'unaffordable' warns Hartlepool MP

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Rail travel is becoming unaffordable says Hartlepool's MP Mike Hill as fares are expected to go up again in the New Year.

Train passengers face an increase in season ticket prices of 1.6% in January linked to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was announced by the Office for National Statistics this week.

Mr Hill MP says that would add about £100 to the cost of many annual season tickets.

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He said: “Average fares have increased by 42% since 2010 and have risen two and a half times faster than inflation, with some people paying £3,350 more to travel to work than before the Tories came to power.

Hartlepool train station. Picture by FRANK REIDHartlepool train station. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool train station. Picture by FRANK REID

“This is making rail travel unaffordable and is discouraging people from using the network at a time when it’s vital to get the rail sector back on an even footing.

“Labour has long argued that public ownership will provide better value for the taxpayer and for passengers.

"It’s high time rail fares were better regulated and the process of re-nationalising the railways begun.”

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Passenger watchdog Transport Focus called for a major shake-up of rail fares to encourage passengers back to the railways following the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REIDHartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said any rail fare rises are expected to be the lowest in four years and any increase would be invested back into the railways.

But Mr Hill welcomed plans by the Tees Valley Combined Authority to redevelop local rail stations including looking at increased capacity at Hartlepool.

He has previously called for a second platform to be opened to allow more trains and passengers to use Hartlepool which is currently is the busiest single platform station in the North East.

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Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is inviting local businesses to find out how they can bid for work on Darlington, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Teesside Airport Railway Stations.

A virtual event takes place on Thursday, September 10, between 8am and 9.30am. Businesses can sign up by visiting www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/stationprocurement.

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