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Business leaders in plea to East Coast for fair rail fare
BUSINESS leaders have written to the managing director of East Coast to complain about prices of train tickets to London.
Joe Henderson, chief executive of Henderson Insurance Brokers, and the Yorkshire chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD), wrote to rail company head Karen Boswell to argue that businesses had to pay top fares for urgent journeys to London, bearing the cost of cheaper fares for other users.
At present, booking peak-time tickets from York to London costs £249 for a standard class any time return, while people with Jobcentre Plus discounts, senior citizens and students pay a lower fare.
Mr Henderson said: “It is galling to sit on a packed train to London after booking a ticket for an urgent meeting with a client and knowing that there are hundreds of people who have paid much less but are not necessarily on a journey that will benefit the northern economy.
“All discounted fares are paid for by those who are forced to pay the full fare; and, as standard fares rise, it is beginning to have a distorting effect on normal business costs.”
Jonathan Oxley, chairman of the West Yorkshire committee of the IoD, said: “There is an urgent need from businesses in the north for lower fares to London.
“The impact of higher fares hits cash flow and cannot always be avoided by planning in advance.”
Peter Williams, East Coast commercial and customer service director, said business customers could get a 20 per cent discount with the Business Carnet ticket, which could be shared between a group of people and was available for travel in both First Class and Standard valid for three months.
He said: “The Business Carnet is a single purchase of five fully flexible return tickets for the price of four, which offers great value for money, as well as the flexibility to travel at a moment’s notice, making it ideal for travelling to last-minute business meetings.”
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