Rail Fares 'To Triple' as Saver Tickets Face Axe

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

RAIL travellers face huge fare increases under government moves to scrap cheap saver tickets, it was claimed today. Passengers could be forced to pay standard fares even if they travel off-peak. That could double the cost of travelling on some of the most busy and popular lines, with the rises in other cases being even higher.

A saver return from London to Birmingham currently costs as little as [pounds sterling]26.

The standard open return fare is four times as high - [pounds sterling]108. A journey from the capital to Manchester and back costs as little as [pounds sterling]57.10. A full price return is [pounds sterling]202.

Ministers want private train operators to have greater freedom to set their own prices, according to reports.

Train companies are said to have argued that they could attract more passengers and require less subsidy if they set their own fares. But that would mean abolishing rules introduced by the Conservatives at privatisation that put a ceiling on the cost of saver fares. Savers are capped at just over the inflation rate and have been frozen in real terms for a decade while standard fares have risen fourfold. …