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Are walk-up train fares in Suffolk too high? MP launches petition to bring them down

PUBLISHED: 16:30 24 September 2019

Sandy Martin is calling for a cut in rail fares from Ipswich. Picture: NEIL PERRY

Sandy Martin is calling for a cut in rail fares from Ipswich. Picture: NEIL PERRY

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Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has launched a petition in an attempt to bring down the cost of "walk-up" fares from his constituency to London - bringing them more into line with other towns and cities in the south east.

Sandy Martin (centre) with Jonathan Denby and Jamie Burles of Greater Anglia. Picture: SANDY MARTINSandy Martin (centre) with Jonathan Denby and Jamie Burles of Greater Anglia. Picture: SANDY MARTIN

During the week, the cheapest fare you can buy on the day for a trip to London is an off-peak return costing £43.50. Cheaper alternatives are available at weekends if you "split" the ticket at Manningtree.

However we have discovered that similar-length trips from other centres in the south east are much cheaper - varying from £18.70 to £33.

The common factor with these tickets was that before privatisation the stations were all in the Network SouthEast sector of British Rail. Ipswich was an InterCity station.

Mr Martin's petition reads: "We the undersigned believe that the economic health of Ipswich and the wellbeing of Ipswich residents requires an effective affordable rail link to London.

"We applaud the introduction of new trains and look forward to more reliable services, but we are dismayed by the price of walk-on fares to London from Ipswich, which are currently some of the most expensive fares in the UK.

"We call on the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to include Ipswich in the Network Railcard Area, so that Network Railcards could be used to make business and employment journeys more affordable, and in addition we demand that Greater Anglia reduce the price of walk-on journeys from Ipswich to London."

Mr Martin said: "I do not see why my constituents should be penalised by a system of privatised rail delivery which does not treat Ipswich people fairly. I will continue to work with Greater Anglia to do everything I can to help improve our rail services, but what I will not do is accept that the present price structure is fair."

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Walk-on fares are regulated by the government and go up by the inflation rate each year - but the rail system is currently the subject of a review by Keith Williams which will be looking at ticket pricing structures among other issues.

A spokesman for the RDG said ticket prices were set by the government - but that the fare structure could change after the publication of the Williams Report, making prices fairer.

Cheapest return rail fares to London:

Ipswich: £43.50

Cambridge: £19

Brighton: £18.70

Northampton: £33

Oxford: £27

Canterbury: £32

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