Just had this press release in from Passenger Focus.
Many face 20% Off-Peak fare rises on First Great Western
First Great Western (FGW) is set to introduce new restrictions on its cheapest Off-Peak tickets which will mean many passengers travelling into London in the morning and out of London in the afternoon will see their fares rise by 20%.
On Sunday 6 September, FGW will replace its Off-Peak ticket with a new Super Off-Peak fare at the same price but with much tighter time restrictions. A 20% more expensive Off-Peak fare will be introduced to cover times excluded by the new Super Off-Peak rules. Off-Peak single journeys and a small number of peak journeys will become cheaper but car-parking charges will go up by 25% and Advance tickets bought at the ticket office will go up by 11%.
Ashwin Kumar, Passenger Focus director, said: “This adds even more complexity to an already complicated system. Passengers who have to travel at these times will find it hard to believe they are being asked to pay such increases when inflation is so low. This comes on top of First Great Western increasing their car-parking charges by 25%.
“The reduction in Off-Peak single fares at least allows passengers to mix and match different ticket types in one return journey. But passengers shouldn’t have to wade through a forest of complexity to get the best deal. Families with children wanting a day out in London will be particularly hard hit as the new Super Off-Peak ticket doesn’t allow a return from London between 3 and 7pm.
“These changes expose the fact that the Off-Peak fare regulation introduced at the time of privatisation does nothing to stop train companies progressively reducing the times at which we can use these tickets.”
These changes have come to light just before the 18 August announcement on inflation which will determine next year’s increases in regulated fares. Many believe the Retail Prices Index will be negative forcing train operators to lower their prices next year.
Passengers travelling from Penzance to London can currently use the 5.41am train arriving at 11.23am at a cost of £83. To make the same journey in September, it will cost £100 and the earliest Super Off-Peak fare will not arrive in London until 15.23 some four hours later.
Passengers travelling from Swansea to London can currently use the 07.59am train arriving at 11.02am at a return cost of £66. To make the same journey in September, it will cost £80 and the earliest Super Off-Peak fare will not arrive in London until midday, 58 minutes later.
Passengers travelling from Bristol Temple Meads to London can currently use the 9.00am train arriving at 10.39am at a return cost of £49. To make the same journey in September will cost £59 and the earliest Super Off-Peak fare will not arrive in London until 11.40am some 61 minutes later.
Passengers travelling from Pewsey to London can currently use the 8.09am train arriving at 9.21am at a return cost of £31. To make the same journey in September will cost £37 and the earliest Super Off-Peak fare will not arrive in London until 14.44pm some five hours later.