Calls to improve trains as fares rise

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TRANSPORT campaigners are calling for improvements to train services following average fare rises of 5.9 per cent this week.

Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum chairman George Scott says later trains from Lincoln, London and Peterborough are on their wishlist, along with a Sunday service for shoppers.

He said: “The reason for the increases we are told is that it is of a transference of subsidies from the taxpayer to the commuter. We are also informed that it is to help build better services and invest more in the infrastructure.

“The question rises therefore of, if the subsidies from the Government are reduced to the train companies and are being replaced by higher fares where is the money for the improvements coming from?”

The fare rises, which took effect on Tuesday, were announced two weeks ago by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).

Chief executive Michael Roberts said: “Money raised through fares helps pay for new trains, faster services and better stations.

“The long-standing Government approach to sustaining rail investment is to cut the contribution from taxpayers and increase the share paid for by passengers.

“The industry is working together to continue cutting costs as a way to help limit future fare rises and offer better value for money for taxpayers over the longer term.”

ATOC says for every £1 train companies receive, 17p is spent on staff; 11p on leasing trains; 4p on fuel and energy, 3p is profit; 48p goes towards improving and maintaining tracks; and 17p on maintenance, administration and contractors.