‘Damned poor’ service and price rises on railways

Long Buckby station, there are plans to extend the car park and build houses on land next to the station.
Long Buckby station, there are plans to extend the car park and build houses on land next to the station.

DAVENTRY’S rail service has been described as ‘pretty damned poor’ in a week when commuters faced a hike in prices.

Travellers from Long Buckby – Daventry’s nearest rail station – to London will now pay just under £5,000 for an annual season ticket with London Midland.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets, have increased by an average of 4.2 per cent, while the overall average rise for all tickets is 2.8 per cent.

An annual ticket from Long Buckby to London now costs £4,980, up 4.7 per cent from £4,756 last year.

Cllr Steve Osborne represents Long Buckby at district and county levels.

He said: “The fact that the rail operators can put on increases of this size when people’s wages aren’t moving at all is not good

“The service is pretty damned poor and often replaced by buses recently so that the people who are using the railway aren’t getting the service they used to get and are having to pay more for it.

“It’s really not good for people.”

A spokesman for London Midland said: “In line with rail companies across the UK, peak fares for travel on London Midland services increased on January 2, 2013.

“However, car park prices and most off-peak fares remained unchanged.

“Continuing the investment in the rail network will help to deliver more trains, better stations and faster services. To fund this there are two main sources of income: taxes and fares.

“The income from fares covers around 60 to 65 per cent of the cost of running the rail network and, since 2004, successive governments have decided that the people who use the railway should contribute a higher proportion of the running costs than general taxpayers.

“No one likes paying more for their train travel, which is why we have kept increases to a minimum, with prices rising by an average of 2.8 per cent, somewhat lower than the national average of 3.9 per cent.”

The fare increases come after months of journeys being affected by floods, signal failures and staff shortages.

The train firm has found itself with a shortage in qualified drivers causing some trains to be cancelled.

Over the Christmas period over-running engineering work led to serious over-crowding on some trains, as well as continuing issues caused by driver shortages.

London Midland announced in October that services could be cancelled or delayed at short notice due to a lack of staff, but it said the situation had been rectified by mid-December.