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Season tickets prices on the rise, as Southeastern slash cheap-day returns

PUBLISHED: 10:47 05 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:47 05 December 2014

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Train firm looks to soften blow of another price hike for commuters

Commuters are facing up to another 2.5 per cent hike in rail fairs in the new year.

The average price rise across the network will be 2.2 per cent - the lowest for five years, the rail industry confirmed on Friday.

Regulated fares - which include season tickets and walk-up singles and long-distance returns - will rise by 2.5 per cent.

That will mean for a commuter in Sevenoaks, for example, currently paying £3,208 for their annual season, will pay £3,288 in January.

Confirmation of the prices was made this week after the Chancellor George Osborne confirmed July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) which determines the amount operators can raise their ticket prices.

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group which represents rail operators and Network Rail, said:

“Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining the railway. This benefits not just passengers and businesses but communities across the country, by improving journeys, creating employment and helping to boost the economy.

“Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27m a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services. That will mean more seats, better stations and improved journeys.

“For every pound spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe’s fastest growing railway.

“The industry is continuing to work together to get more for every pound we invest to enable government to make fares decisions which work best for passengers.”

In a bid to soften the blow, Southeastern has also announced a freeze on some off peak fares for 2015, that will cut the cost of more than one million journeys for passengers across Kent and East Sussex.

The new expanded offer means that the cost of a return off peak journey between Margate and London is cut from £32.90 to £22.40 – a 32 percent price reduction.

The train operator also announced it will offer advance fares for the first time in 2015 – allowing customers a discount by pre-booking off peak fares via the Southeastern website.

David Statham, managing director of Southeastern, said: “We know that customers want more value for money and an improvement to their service – and we’re committed to providing just that. More than 250,000 people rely on our trains for their journeys every day and we’re investing fares directly in schemes that will make those journeys easier for our passengers. These include extra seats on some services, providing more staff to help passengers at stations and on trains, refreshing the look of our fleet of trains and improving stations right across our network.”

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