Commuters are getting angry

PUBLISHED: 03:11 08 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

SEETHING commuters have lashed out at Anglia Railways' defence of its decision to raise certain season ticket prices to London next month by up to 30 per cent.

SEETHING commuters have lashed out at Anglia Railways' defence of its decision to raise certain season ticket prices to London next month by up to 30 per cent.

Earlier in the week, the company justified the rise to angry travellers who were complaining that commuter club prices were rising on average by more than £50 a month from Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Stowmarket and Diss.

Their anger was compounded because on the same day, rival operator Great Eastern announced a price freeze on season tickets from Ipswich and decreases from Manningtree and Colchester.

Anglia spokesman Peter Meades said: "We are trying to realign the fares to make them viable. Our commuter club was introduced two years' ago as a package of measures and offers remarkable value for money, including seat reservation and automatic payments if trains run more than 30 minutes late.

"The company has paid out on average £1,500 to passengers because of late running services caused by emergency track repairs following the Hatfield disaster last year."

The company is sending a letter of explanation to its 1,500 commuter club members, but many have contacted the EADT complaining at the attitude of Anglia, which has received charter marks for its standard of customer service.

Andrew Smith of Horham says his monthly ticket from Diss will go up 30pc from £320 to £414.

"Without the seat reservation, the fare will be £370, a 16pc rise – both of which are unjustifiable. Its because the increases are based on postal codes. I live in IP21 – if I lived in IP13, less than half a mile from my home, the new fares would be only £359 and £315.

"Anglia is guilty of robbery from a captive market at a time when the service is as bad as it has ever been and train maintenance seems non existent."

Chris Charman, of Brickwall Farm at Bacton, managing director of Thomas Miller Risk Management in the city, claimed Anglia failed to operate the published timetable with any regularity using locomotives and stock which were 35 years old.

"My view is biased for, having lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for years and used a first class public transport system on a daily basis because it was the best choice, I know just how good things can be if properly set up, maintained and managed."

He added: "Where is the reliable service, the new and faster trains to reduce journey times that should come with this inflation smashing raise the company is seeking to levy?"

Kate Loades, who commutes daily from Diss, says she is forced to pay the seat reservation levy otherwise she would have to stand on the return journey until the train reached Manningtree. "Virtually every train I have got on in the past week has been delayed – for example 20 minutes Monday night, 35 minutes Tuesday morning. The service continues to be very poor."

Darren Johnson, of Church Lane, Thwaite, catches the 5.47 from, Diss each morning which is usually on time, and returns on the 17.30 from Liverpool Street, which is normally 10-15 minutes late. "Anglia Railways is not to blame for most of the delays, the fault lies ultimately with the Government for not investing in the railways."

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