RAIL commuters travelling from Banbury have spoken out against increased fares as new prices come into effect for the new year.
Companies announced changes to the cost of travel back in August, with an annual season ticket into London from Banbury increasing by £284 to more than £5,000.
Nick Peart, who travels to work in London five days a week from his Greatworth home, said: “This is a double whammy for train users when combined with the reduction in services from Banbury into the capital at the end of last year.
“I am just disappointed that the rises are so high – and the service and reliability is still the same.
“The faster, non-stop service to London that leaves at 8am has hardly ever been on time.
“But we have to bear in mind with Chiltern that nearly all their trains have seats available for those travelling down to London; other companies have hardly any seats for their commuters.”
Train users have already complained about the reduction of earlier and faster trains into London after Chiltern Railways launched its new schedule in December, despite the new timetable making more than 600 extra seats available at peak times. Previously a 12-month season ticket into London Marylebone from Banbury cost £4,744 but as of yesterday (Wednesday) commuters will now pay £5,028 – an increase of about five per cent.
Posting on the Banbury Guardian’s Facebook page, Lesley Southam, who lives in Banbury, said: “My husband travels from Banbury to London every day.
“The train fares are so high and he doesn’t always get a seat.
“It is our second highest outgoing a month and if they rise any more then they are going to cripple us.
“Unfortunately it is essential for him to travel this way as it would cost more to go by car.”
Thomas Ableman, commercial director at Chiltern Railways said: “We understand that fare increases are hard for people, however Government sets the formula for how fares should be increased and we follow this in line with our franchise requirements.
“As with all businesses, our costs increase each year and we do not receive any subsidy from Government; in fact we pay a premium to run our services.
“We have kept our fares as low as we can and our average increase across the route is lower than the industry average.”
For more information about the new train prices visit www.nationalrail.co.uk