Commuters angry at big hike in rail fares

First published in Countywide

RAIL commuters from Bicester and Banbury to London reacted with anger to 9.1 per cent rises in their season tickets.

The average increase in England is 3.9 per cent, with a cap set at an average of 4.2 per cent.

A season ticket from Oxford to London will rise 4.2 per cent to £4,532 from January 2, according to an announcement by the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc).

But Chiltern Railways has hiked some fares to almost the maximum allowed by Government regulations, achieving the average with lower rises elsewhere.

Travellers from Banbury to London Marylebone will see annual tickets rise from £4,774 to £5,180, and Bicester North passengers from £4,060 to £4,432.

Chris Bates, of the Cherwell Rail Users Group, said: “Some people just won’t be able to afford it.”

Thomas Ableman, commercial director of Chiltern Railways, said: “We understand that fares increases are hard. The price changes for Bicester are linked directly to the launch of our new service from Oxford to London in a few years.”

James Davis, a spokesman for First Great Western, which runs services from Oxford, Didcot and the Cotswolds, said the company’s rises were either 4.2 per cent or just below.

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