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York train operator East Coast to freeze some fares
YORK train operator East Coast has announced it is freezing some of its fares on the route to London and Edinburgh next year.
However, its regulated fares, which include season tickets, are rising by the recently-agreed 3.1 per cent average, in line with the July 2013 RPI inflation rate.
The Skeldergate-based company, which has been in the public sector for the last four years, said its overall average rise for all fares from January 2 was 1.21 per cent.
It said unregulated fares - which include off-peak fares and advanced-purchased tickets for leisure travellers - were going up by an average of 0.83 per cent.
Managing director Karen Boswell said: "We're freezing fares to help our customers and encourage more people to travel with us. This will help us to continue to grow our business, and to give back even more to the taxpayer.
"This is a straightforward commercial decision which is very good news for our customers and businesses across our route. It will also help East Coast to sustain our strong advantage in a highly-competitive travel market.
"It will also help businesses and hard-working people by holding down the cost of travel for many. As one of the leading long-distance train operators, we're doing our bit to help businesses grow, and that has to be welcome news for jobs and investment in the regions we serve throughout Britain.
"When you take into account the rate of inflation, today's announcement represents a genuine real terms cut in our overall fares. We believe this will attract more people to our trains, and help to maximise revenue.”
TSSA transport union leader Manuel Cortes said the announcement was good news for passengers on the East Coast line after eight years of inflation-plus fare increases.
"This should be a benchmark for the rest of the industry,” he said. “If the East Coast can do it, then so can Virgin's Sir Richard Branson (on the West Coast line) and other firms who have made massive profits down the years from ripping off passengers.
"We would like to see all fares frozen because they have more than doubled since privatisation 20 years ago."
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