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Suffolk commuters set to pay 2.6 per cent more for rail services from March

Rail commuters will pay 2.6 per cent more for tickets from March with the government raising prices beyond inflation for the first time since 2013.

The Department for Transport has put back the rise from its usual January position, but local pressure group Mid Anglia Rail Passengers Association is calling for value for money on local lines.

Group spokesman Peter Hulbert said: “Paying £3,000 for a season ticket is a lot of money to find, and I think more people will look to work from home, at least a few days a week.

Bury St Edmunds Railway Station. Picture by Mark Westley.
Bury St Edmunds Railway Station. Picture by Mark Westley.

“Every year the prices go up and if they are looking for more people to use the lines once the pandemic has passed, I don’t think this is going to help that.”

Rail usage has slumped during Covid-19 and the Government is still advising people not to use networks unless necessary. It has been speculated the rise will be used to offset costs for the Government in bailing out rail franchises, with efforts reportedly costing £10 billion.

Chris Heaton-Harris, rail minister, said: “Delaying the change in rail fares ensures passengers who need to travel have a better deal this year. By setting fares sensibly, and with the lowest actual increase for four years, we are ensuring that taxpayers are not overburdened for their unprecedented contribution, ensuring investment is focused on keeping vital services running and protecting frontline jobs.”

Newmarket railway station (Google)
Newmarket railway station (Google)

Ticket prices are set nationally and not by Greater Anglia, franchise holder for much of Suffolk. The firm said punctuality had improved on the Ipswich-Cambridge line in 2020 with 90 per cent of trains running on time.

New-style Bombardier trains will be introduced on the Ipswich-Liverpool Street line for 2021. A spokesman added: “We will continue to give people the confidence to travel by train – we’ll continue cleaning and sanitising our trains.”

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