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Train company slated over rail fares hike

Rail passenger watchdog wants answers


A rail passenger watchdog has called on a train company to explain why it’s increasing some off-peak fares by as much as 20 per cent later this month.

The hikes, to be introduced from May 20 by South West Trains (SWT), were unacceptable, the Passenger Focus organisation said.

It added that it wanted SWT passengers to give their views of the rises and of how they will be affected.

Examples of the increases, which were first announced in March, include a cheap day return from Alton in Hampshire to London rising from £15.80 to £19 – a 20.25 per cent increase – and a Bournemouth to London cheap day return going up from £36.40 to £43.70 – a 20.05 per cent rise.

Off-peak fares

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: ‘These increases are unacceptable and come only a matter of months after their last price rises. The affordable, turn-up-and-go railway has been further eroded and SWT is exploiting a monopoly market.

‘Families making day trips to London will be hit hard by these changes. We want SWT passengers to tell us what they think of the fare increases and how they will be affected.’

An SWT spokeswoman said: ‘This pricing structure will bring us into line with a number of other train companies and allow us to better match demand and pricing.

‘People who decide to travel outside of the peak can still make really good savings by travelling a little later or by buying one of a range of off-peak value tickets, megatrain.com deals and by using discount Railcards.’

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