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Passengers charged peak-rate fares to travel on near-empty trains from London to Ipswich and Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:52 11 December 2016

Phil Smart called for changes to

Phil Smart called for changes to "peak" times.

Archant

Commuters heading to London are used to full trains on the morning and evening peaks – and having to pay a full fare for travelling on them.

Rail Future's railwatch newsletter.Rail Future's railwatch newsletter.

But about half the trains running at these hours are nearly empty – yet passengers are still charged “peak-rate” fares if they turn up to catch them.

It is a situation highlighted by campaign group Rail Future on the front of its latest newsletter “railwatch” – featuring an InterCity train leaving Liverpool Street for Ipswich and Norwich on October 21.

Peak fares apply on all trains running to and from London every week day until 9.31am – a single ticket to Ipswich costs £49.20 and a return costs £76.70. After 9.30am the cost falls to £40.10 for an off-peak return.

Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for transport, Phil Smart, is a leading member of Rail Future in the region and said the anomaly had been highlighted – and Greater Anglia had some of the strictest rules on peak time operations.

He said: “Peak time from Liverpool Street goes until 9.31am and the trains often run almost empty. I don’t know if lower fares would attract many more passengers, but it does look a bit odd to have empty ‘peak’ services.

“Other London stations have shorter peak times. I can’t see why this region cannot follow suit.”

Trains from Paddington to the south west end their peak time at 8.10am and at Waterloo, with trains to Hampshire and Dorset, the peak time ends at 8.15am. At Kings Cross with trains to Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland, the peak time ends just after 9am.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said the trains would have to leave Liverpool Street anyway to form later services and leave space for new, full, trains arriving in the capital. And there were advance-purchase deals available.

She said: “We offer great value fares on less busy trains coming out of London in the morning peak. You can buy an advance ticket from £9.00 to £13.80 travelling from London to Ipswich and Norwich, depending on the time you travel and availability.”

11 comments

  • Of course Abellyup are going to charge as much as they can. All profits from ticket sales go to subsidising their operations in their native Holland.

    Report this comment

    john131

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • And wasn't there a story recently about a man falling off a ladder?

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • "The papers reputation cant sink any lower.". I raise you, they carried a story last few days about a lakenheath dog dying of old age!

    Report this comment

    Davidbrian552

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • This is a commercial matter for the private company concerned. and no business of anybody else.

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • There is no story, commuters who left their car in the garage and use the train are being ripped off by private companies with more than one agenda. NATIONALISE the whole network on humanitarian grounds for all I care, and include network rail in this, its spawning too many CEO's with high wages, our railways are not serving us anymore, but greedy shareholders and Ceo's The rail network should never be privatised its a recipe for disaster. Companies should only be recompensed for what they invested but not for 'future profits' lost.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • Reverse logic? I want to pay LESS for a train where I have to stand. I would pay MORE for a train where I have a seat - and choice of seats. How busy the train is... quite irrelevant. It is quite obvious that people living in London are not going to have a job in Colchester, Ipswich or Norwich! it doesn't work the other way round. The fact a train is "running empty" just for a return journey is more reason to charge MORE money. What is geater's idea? Charge everyone a quid, and make £5?

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • Having travelled on a range of train services, my experience is that only Transpennine are worse than Abellio. Without this turning into 'and another thing' type tirade, they do it because they can get away with it. It is a monopoly. The idea that trains are a public service died out many years ago and we are back in the Victorian railway robber barons times again.

    Report this comment

    Alchemist

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • Why is there a picture of a maintenance train? Whilst I agree in principal with cutting the peak times against the flow I cant imagine there are that many people wanting to leave liverpool street at those times anyway, so it would look quite empty. I bet they pick up passengers along the way. And as GA rightly say they need the full capacity for the trains return leg.

    Report this comment

    MooseyT20

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • The papers reputation cant sink any lower. It is a sorry state compared to 20 years ago, it was never great but it was at least good. The pieces written by the new editor are worse than many of the so called 'journalists'

    Report this comment

    MooseyT20

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • @McLean - quite correct! The buffoon Geater can nevertheless be relied on to turn any story into a dull, tedious grey blur.

    Report this comment

    cthulu

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

  • Bin collection times and empty trains..... it's good to see the new editor putting Paul Geater on the sort of stories where he can't get too much wrong and do too much damage to the paper's reputation.

    Report this comment

    McLean

    Saturday, December 10, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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