The cost of rail travel has been an issue for Southeastern commuters for many years. Since 2010 the Government has listened to Kent MPs concerned at the unfairness of the fare formula which saw Kent’s commuters suffer RPI+3 increases while the rest of the country faced a rise of RPI+1 and returned the county’s formula to that equal to everyone else.
However local rail users expressed disappointment at the recent announcement that in January 2015 fares would rise by inflation plus 1, leading many to worry about affordability. Chatham & Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch raised these concerns with the Chancellor and was therefore pleased to see the announcement at the weekend that rail fares would be frozen in real terms and that the “flex rule” that allows firms to raise fares by 2% above the average increase as long as the overall average stays at RPI plus 1% will be scrapped.
The Chancellor’s announcement means that the average nominal saving for commuters across Tracey’s constituency is as follows:
Chatham to London (not HS1) £110
Maidstone to London (not HS1) £120
West Malling to London (not HS1) £115
Tracey Crouch MP said:
“Commuters from my constituency suffered crippling rail fare rises for years under the previous Labour Government while train users in other parts of the country did not. Although fares have still increased in recent years they have at least been fairer. However this freeze in real terms will bring some welcome relief to many rail users worrying about how they were going to balance budgets at a time when the economy is still in recovery”.