One Of The Most-Delayed Train Services In The UK Has Also Just Hiked Its Fares The Highest

The London North Eastern Railway increased its fares by more than inflation.

Rail fares increased by 3.1% on average this year despite 2018 being one of the worst years on record for train punctuality.

Some 14% of trains were late last year, with several franchises recording even worse performances.

However, the company that increased its prices the most stands out given its time-keeping in the last year.

Who’s increased their fares the most?

The largest fare rise comes from government-owned London North Eastern Railway (LNER), with a 3.4% increase.

LNER took over the East Coast franchise from Virgin after the company failed to make the line sustainable in May. At the time, 26% of their trains were late. A further 10% of them were either very late (30 minutes or more) or cancelled.

Since then the service has improved but still around a quarter of their services were delayed or cancelled in December.

Despite this, LNER is the only company to increase its fares more than the Retail Price Index (RPI) measurement of inflation, which most train companies in England and Wales have their fare increases pegged to. Last year RPI was 3.2%.

LNER services operate from London to Inverness and run along the east coast of the country, stopping in places including Peterborough, Leeds, and Edinburgh.

Some 45% of rail fares in England and Wales have their fares directly dictated by the government pinning them to RPI, the rest have more flexibility in their approach to fare increases.

Govia Thameslink are increasing their fares by 3% and Northern are increasing theirs by 3.2%. Both were beset by huge delays during a botched introduction of a new timetables in May.

Govia hit a low when 23% of their trains were delayed or cancelled.

Northern’s problems continued all the way into November, when they hit a low point of 32.5% of their trains delayed.

In real cash terms, Govia’s annual season ticket from Brighton to London will go up £148, from £4,696 to £4,844, and a similar Northern ticket from Manchester to Liverpool increasing by £100 from £3,152 to £3,252.

Labour analysis of more than 180 routes suggests an average commuter is paying £2,980 for their annual season ticket, up £786 from 2010.

Passengers were left frustrated over the summer when new timetables meant hundreds of trains were delayed or cancelled.
Passengers were left frustrated over the summer when new timetables meant hundreds of trains were delayed or cancelled.
Jack Taylor via Getty Images

What can be done about it?

Britains rail prices have are notoriously high, with some tickets being as much as five times higher than the European average.

For many they will have to carry on shouldering the burden of ever increasing rail prices, but there might be ways to bring down prices for others.

Alongside the fare increase, Transport Secretary Chris Greyling announced there would be a new railcard introduced for 16-18 year olds who were in full-time education or training, giving them half price trains.

On top of this, the new 26-30 year olds rail card is also available from today.

If you are affected by a delay, passengers can claim compensation if their trains are late or cancelled.

Depending on the train operator, passengers are able to claim compensation for trains starting from a 15 minute delay.

The amount of compensation given depends on how much longer it took to arrive at a destination than expected, whether this means it was just because the train was delayed by an hour, or the passenger had to go a different route because the original train was cancelled.

So, a common policy might be to claim half of the cost of the single journey if delayed by up to an hour, and a full refund if delayed any longer than that.

Passengers will to need to claim the compensation themselves as payouts are not automatic.


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