MP welcomescontinuation of the rail fare cap

Rye MP Amber Rudd has welcomed a Government announcement that a cap on rail fare increases is to be extended for a further year.

The Chancellor has also announced that train operating companies will no longer be able to increase individual fares by up to 2% more than the permitted average increase.

Before the announcement, train operating companies could have raised fares on some journeys by as much as 5.5%.

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However, as a result of these measures, no regulated rail fare will rise by more than 2.5% in 2015, taking 3% off the maximum increase for a regulated fare.

These announcements extend the freeze that was brought in at last year’s Autumn Statement, and will mean it is the second year in a row that regulated fare rises have been capped at inflation.

The Government estimates it will save season ticket holders around £75 across 2014 and 2015.

Martin Abrams, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said the announcement would be a “welcome relief to millions of people”.

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He added: “Fares need to be held down for the long term while wages catch up, and the inflation formula finally needs to change from the retail price index to the lower, fairer consumer price index to bring it in line with other measures.”

“This is positive news for local residents who suffered years of above inflation rises to their rail fares, and now have the second year of these rises being called off,” said Amber.

She added: “I congratulate the East Sussex Rail Alliance (ESRA) and St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme (SHRIMP) for raising this issue in good time with me and giving me time to raise this with Government.

“The announcement will come as a great relief for local commuters and rail user groups from across Rother and Hastings.

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“Although I strongly believe in the need for more rail investment, this investment must be accompanied by affordable train fares especially during tough economic times.

“Under the last Government rail fares rose faster than prices year after year and so I am grateful that this Government recognises the significance of the financial pressures commuters are facing at home and is offering them real help.”

But despite the boost, rail users and commuters, particularly on the Rye line, are still facing problems such as overcrowding in carriages, poor connections and travel disruption.