Deeside rail commuters face ticket price increases of 2.5% from today
Rail fare rises in Wales and England have come into effect today.
Passengers on Arriva Trains Wales services will see average price increases of 2.5% or 10p whichever is the greater.
The 2.5% figure has been capped by the Welsh Government in line with July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) and means operators cannot increase prices above inflation.
The increase follows the Welsh Government’s announcement they were scrapping the so called “flex rule”, which allowed train operators to raise fares by 2% above the average increase as long as the overall average stays at RPI’
Edwina Hart AM said at the time of the Government’s announcement last November;
“This [cap] will help keep down the cost of rail fares and ensure consistency. The Welsh Government recognises the pressures on people’s income and for the second year in a row we have moved to keep train fares in Wales affordable. Our train system provides access to jobs and services to many people and we want to encourage more people to use public transport.”
Shotton is the ‘hub’ of Deeside rail travel and is serviced by two lines with two distinctive sets of problems, the North Wales Coast line with its services to Holyhead and well documented over crowding problems, and the Wrexham to Bidston line which is beset with daily delays and cancellations due to an ageing infrastructure and the prioritising of freight over passengers, leaving many trains delayed or cancelled due to over running freight trains and equipment failure.
Union’s have spoken out about the fare increases;
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This year’s fare hike will hit passengers particularly hard because wages are rising so slowly.
“The cost to passengers of the failed privatisation of our railways cannot be ignored. We’ve ended up with slower trains and higher fares than countries who have kept their trains in public hands.”
ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said:
“We cannot continue to damage the economic future of this country by pricing people out of travel and not competing with Europe – where they know the value of encouraging travel for work and leisure. It comes as no surprise that the bulk of our railways are now run by European operators.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The scandal of Britain’s great rail fares rip off continues with today’s hike far outstripping average pay increases, and it will once again hit those at the sharp end of the austerity clampdown the hardest.”
The Rail industry say today’s rise is the lowest in five years.
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