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Home   Medway   News   Article

Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless welcomes cap on rail fares for Kent commuters

09 December 2013
by Paul Francis

Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless

Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless

MP Mark Reckless has said the planned cap on rail fares will bring some "much needed relief" for commuters. 

The Rochester and Strood MP welcomed the news that rail fares for Kent commuters will go up less than expected next year after the Chancellor announced prices would be capped.

Train operator Southeastern, which carries 570,000 travellers daily in Kent and Sussex, will only be permitted to increase fares in line with inflation.

The move means average regulated fares will go up by 3.1% rather than the planned 4.1% next year - a 1% reduction in the planned rise.

Next year’s ticket prices have yet to be confirmed by Southeastern and are unlikely to be published before the end of the year.

Mr Reckless, who has campaigned for a reduction in fares, said: "At long last we have delivered some much-needed relief for rail users in Kent and Medway.”

He said he was unconcerned by the fact that it would be for 2014 only.

“It will actually give us the chance to put on pressure for fares to be reduced to below the rate of inflation.”

In his Autumn statement, the Chancellor George Osborne said the government understood that fares were placing pressure on commuters.

Southeastern insists there is no underlying problem of staffing on the Sheerness line train

It is thought the move could save average commuter in the south east £40 to £50 a year.

A season ticket from Gillingham to London currently costs £3,672 a year. 

The Campaign For Better Transport welcomed the move as “a step in the right direction.”

However, the train company Southeastern will still have flexibility to increase some fares by a maximum of 5.1% as long as cuts are made elsewhere.

David Sidebottom, director of the independent watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “This brings an end to a decade of inflation-busting fare rises and will be welcome news to passengers in England, especially those who rely on the train for work.

"It is something we have been pushing for for several years now, and we are pleased that the government has recognised the need to act to relieve the burden on hard-pressed passengers.”

A spokesman for Southeastern said: “We welcome the government’s change in the fares formula. We need to get to work to recast our fares for next year.”

The Autumn statement has also revealed there will be a trial of flexible rail season ticketing in the south east. This is designed to help benefit those who work flexibly or part-time.








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