Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PEAK-HOUR PRICE RISES WON'T PREVENT RAIL OVERCROWDING; Commuters Can't Switch Work Patterns

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PEAK-HOUR PRICE RISES WON'T PREVENT RAIL OVERCROWDING; Commuters Can't Switch Work Patterns

Article excerpt

Byline: DICK MURRAY

GOVERNMENT attempts to price commuters off the busiest trains are doomed to failure, an Evening Standard survey reveals today.

Almost two-thirds of London commuters would not or could not alter the times they travel in return for cheaper fares. The result is a blow to cheaper travel at off-peak times - the Government's attempts to deal with overcrowding.

Under the new moves, passengers using the London to Reading service on First Great Western will see the biggest fare rise. The cost of a standard return will increase 9.5 per cent from 25.90 to [pounds sterling]28.30.

The Standard's poll of 950 rush-hour commuters found just one in three passengers

said they either could or

the real world, London's workforce has got to get to work when and where it is needed."

Mr Stanbridge joined the growing list of critics who blame lack of investment. He said: "Business has brought in measures to support more flexible working but would be willing to change their commuting hours.

Many said it was impossible for them to change the time they started or finished work. But there was support for other moves. Almost two thirds backed removing either lavatories or first class accommodation to provide more seats.

The rejection of attempts to cut peak demand, which are being studied by Network Rail and Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander, was only to be expected, employers said.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, which represents 10,000 businesses, said: "Seasoned commuters and those businesses which have tried to find a way around London's chronic transport problems will not be too surprised by the findings.

"These kind of incentives may look good on paper but when it comes to

the biggest difference would arise from government investment in Transport for London's vision."

This week, the Evening Standard revealed TfL's [pounds sterling]120 billion "wish list" for radical improvements.

Yesterday, it was revealed that fares would rise by 4.3 per cent on average from January. Critics say the rises are designed to encourage "demand management". …

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