Lincolnshire Talks: Are rail passengers getting value for money?

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More than often than not, the start of the new year sees a rise in rail fares for passengers. 2017 has been no different, with an increase of 2.3% announced on January 2.

Since the 1990s, rail fares have risen by about 25%, with some tickets going up by as much as 40%.

Campaigners reacted with anger to the rise, describing it as “a kick in the teeth for passengers”.

To gauge the mood of passengers in the county, Lincolnshire Reporter went down to Lincoln Central railway station to ask commuters and visitors getting off the trains what they thought about the latest price hike.

Arthur Snodgrass, who lives near Manchester but often travels by train to Lincoln and Gainsborough, said: “I’m lucky as I have a senior rail card, I book in advance and I travel off-peak, so it is a lot cheaper than driving for me.

“I’m never happy with rises in ticket prices. I think it should be nationalised, and I don’t think it should be privatised.

“They have made billions since it has been privatised, at the price of the commuters.

“It’s the commuters that suffer.

“I think only some of the money will be reinvested back into the trains and railways.”

Emma Clarke, from Sheffield who travels to Lincoln for work, had endured a torrid commute when she spoke to Lincolnshire Reporter.

She said: “My journey this morning consisted of me arriving at my local train station to a train that was delayed, which meant I then had to catch the following one and miss my connection to Lincoln.

“I had to wait 45 minutes in Sheffield.

“With that experience this morning, I don’t think I’m getting value for money.

“I don’t think anybody is happy with the increase in ticket prices. Wages aren’t going up at the same rate that everything else is so it’s a squeeze.

“With the Northern Rail train that I took on the way here, the inspector had to come down the carriage to tell us not to worry because every time the train had to brake there was a jerking motion, but he said that was just a fault on the train that they knew about.

“I’m not sure that the reinvestment is actually reaching where it needs to get to.”

Frustration at the price rise is not confined to Lincoln. Great Grimsby MP Melanie Onn spent the morning of Tuesday, January 3 speaking to commuters at Grimsby Town station.

She said: “Once again ticket prices have increased faster than people’s wages, making commuters worse off and rail travel unaffordable for many.

“Rail users deserve better than forking out more money on services which are unreliable, out of date and overcrowded.

“In Grimsby and Cleethorpes we are still waiting for electrification of the lines, new carriages and a direct rail line to London. Last year we only just managed to see off the Conservatives’ plans to take away our direct line across to Manchester.

“Yet despite the poor service, under the Tories we pay up to six times as much for rail travel as our European neighbours.”

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