Rail user group relieved by new fares announcement

Braintree and Witham Times: Rail user group relieved by new fares announcement Rail user group relieved by new fares announcement

Commuters in the Braintree district have been spared significant price rises as New Year fare rates were announced.

Fares from Braintree station were frozen, but Witham passengers will have to pay £4,000 per year to commute to London for the first time due to a one per cent rise.

The average fare rise for commuters across the county, announced by the Rail Delivery Group last Monday, is 2.8 per cent.

The cost of a 12-month ticket from Witham to London Liverpool Street will increase to £4,060 from January 2, compared to £3,976 currently.

But the annual price from Braintree station will remain at £4,124.

David Bigg, chairman of the Witham and Braintree Rail Users Association, was relieved commuters had avoided the worst of the fare rises, but warned passengers still faced tough times ahead.

He said: “We have got high energy bills coming in January and now fare rises too.

“People are going to be poorer in real terms in the new year. It could be worse, but not much.”

Data collected by the association for the first 11 months of this year show that 12.9 per cent of trains serving Braintree, Witham and Chelmsford stations have been late.

The figure, which discounts disruptions during severe weather, such as this week’s cancelled trains, compares to 12.5 per cent of late services last year.

Mr Bigg said: “It is a slight deteroriation in quality of service, and with no investment at all in the near future, we have always argued that inflation is the best way to calculate fares.”

Colchester commuters will see a 2.7 per cent increase next month, while passengers travelling from Clacton will see fares rise by 4.1 per cent.

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