Rail fare rises add ‘insult to injury’ for Hartlepool passengers after delays, cancellations and erratic services, says MP

Mike Hill
Mike Hill

Hartlepool MP has says rises to rail fares would be adding insult to injury for passengers.

Rail users face a 3.2% price increase for a number of ticket types from January.

Town MP Mike Hill says it would be another blow to passengers already hit by erratic services, delays and cancellations this year.

He said: “Hartlepool train passengers have suffered enough lately, with delayed and cancelled journeys, erratic timetable changes and poor and unacceptable performance by Northern Rail in particular; to say that they are getting value for money at today’s ticket prices would be a joke and if commuters suffer a further hike in January it will simply be adding insult to injury.”

Rail tickets become more expensive every January, with the increase in around 40% of fares regulated by the government.

These include season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and Anytime tickets around major cities.

Price rises for these tickets are capped at July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figure, which was announced as 3.2% by the Office for National Statistics last week.

Passenger groups, unions and politicians reacted with anger after the cap was confirmed.

There have been calls for fares to be frozen following chaos caused by the implementation of new timetables in May.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “I know that some passengers have experienced significant delays in recent months, while Network Rail and train operators have been delivering the biggest modernisation since Victorian times.

“For the sixth year running, the Government will freeze regulated fares in line with inflation.

“Today I have written to the rail industry and the unions, asking for their help to reduce cost pressures in the industry.

“Together, we can help passengers without asking all taxpayers to pay for it.

“It is not fair to ask people who do not use trains to further subsidise those who do.

“Taxpayers already contribute more than £4bn a year to the railway with 38% of our transport budget spent on the 2% of journeys that rail accounts for.

“There’s been £4 billion of private investment in the past four years too.

“But income and expenditure in the rail industry must both use the same rate of inflation, meaning fares and wages must use the same rate.”