Train fare increases should be scrapped, say Welwyn Hatfield commuters

Commuters squeeze onto a London-bound train after cancellations this summer. Picture: Mia Jankowicz

Commuters squeeze onto a London-bound train after cancellations this summer. Picture: Mia Jankowicz - Credit: Mia Jankowicz

Govia Thameslink Railway should scrap any planned fare rises after more train disruption, commuters have said.

GTR announced last week that it would be extending its compensation scheme to cover those who travelled 3+ days per week since May but did not have a season ticket.

However, while many welcomed the move, further delays today (Monday) sparked renewed calls for any ticket price rises planned for 2019 to be shelved.

“This company seriously needs to sort it out,” said Hatfield resident Vicky Billingham following delays on Monday. “People’s jobs are at risk due to the lateness – same as people needing to attend important appointments.

“What angers me the most is that we are asked to be patient while the new timetable is put in place, but the price still goes up during this. It’s a bloody cheek.”

Last month it emerged that commuters could pay £100 more for their season tickets next year if rail bosses increase fares by as much as they are allowed.

Mary Lowe, a spokesperson for the Hatfield Association of Rail Travellers, said that some stations will be served by less trains even when the May timetable is fully implemented.

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“With that in mind we would argue it is inappropriate to carry on increasing prices,” she added.

However, the spokeswoman welcomed the compensation scheme extension and said that given how many claims Govia would receive it was understandably going to take some time.

Potters Bar’s MP Oliver Dowden added that he was delighted and hailed it “a significant win for passengers”.

“This is an excellent step forward but there is of course more to do, including making sure we get the full, enhanced timetable we were promised way back in May,” he said.

“I will continue to push for this over the coming months.”

A Govia spokesman said: “Services on Great Northern and Thameslink have improved significantly since the introduction of the new interim timetable on July 15, with over eight out of 10 trains arriving on time, and, more recently, over nine out of 10.”

He added that many problems, such as the overrunning engineering work that caused delays this morning, are out of Govia’s control.