MEP hits out at increased train prices in the East of England

PUBLISHED: 08:33 13 January 2020

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A Green Party MEP for the East of England has struck out at rail companies for a recent increase in ticket prices.

The two main railway operators in the East of England, Abellio Greater Anglia and Govia Thameslink Railway have both increased their fares by 2.6 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

This means that many commuters face an average increase of £100 for annual passes.

This is despite the fact that fewer than seven in ten Abellio Greater Anglia trains arrived on time in 2019.

Catherine Rowett, MEP, said: "Once again we are seeing rail passengers paying more to use a form of transport that should be encouraged, not discouraged, given how effectively it contributes to reducing congestion and pollution.

"Ordinary workers who take the train to work are personally subsidising railways that could be paid for out of taxation, as the roads are. And indeed, the profits are being siphoned off to share-holders and to state-run rail companies of other European countries. No one can seriously think that this is a sound way to keep our country moving!"

A Greater Anglia spokesperson responded to the complaints saying: "Our average fare increase is just under 2.6 per cent, however we have frozen some of our ticket prices, including all of our advance fares, which start from £6 and can be up to 60-70 per cent cheaper than walk-up fares.

"The increase applies to government-regulated fares, such as season tickets and anytime singles and returns. We need to apply this increase, as many of our costs will increase by at least 2.8 per cent in line with inflation."

Meanwhile, Abellio Greater Anglia said that 98p of every £1 goes back into the railway. This year, the company has started introducing brand new trains into their network, part of a £1.4 billion wholescale replacement of every train aimed to transform the railways in East Anglia.

This new fleet includes 31 bi-mode trains capable of running on diesel or electric power. The fleet is dedicated to Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, marking the first time a UK rail operator has introduced an entirely new set of trains.

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