Train fares study reveals cost rises

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An increase in rail fares from Harborough to Leicester has been criticised by a train passengers’ group.

The Harborough Rail Users group has been analysing the recent changes to East Midlands Trains’ fares using Harborough to London, Leicester and Nottingham as samples of popular journeys.

In general, they follow the 3.1 per cent price-rise cap stipulated by the Government, with some marginally higher, such as the Harborough to Leicester standard-class peak day return up by 3.67 per cent to £11.30. Others are lower, such as the various day tickets to Nottingham that appear not to have not risen at all.

Overall, the increases are what the group expected.

However, its said the higher than average increase on the Leicester fare is disappointing as it was already relatively high and it had made representations for this to be reflected in the new fares.

Users group co-chairman Steve Jones said: “A clear trend in the recent increases has been a narrowing of the gaps between standard and first-class fares to London.

“Some first-class prices remain static such as a first-class ‘Carnet ten’ for 10 peak return journeys stays unchanged at £1,291.50 while the standard-class equivalent rises 3.04 per cent from £1,035.00 to £1,066.50. “Some even fall such as the first-class ‘super off-peak’ return by 5.77 per cent from £78.00 to £73.50. This may be perceived as a subsidy for first class by standard class.

“I suspect it reflects a need to make first-class more competitive because of economic austerity and public anger about extravagant expense claims by business travellers – especially when standard class is absolutely heaving on a peak-time train.

“It is pleasing the Government has finally listened to public anger about above-inflation fare increases.”

East Midlands Trains said the average increase across all of its fares is 2.6 per cent or an extra 36p on a single journey – the lowest increase in four years.