Commuters from North Herts and East Beds stations facing biggest hike in train fares since 2013

One of the new Class 700 Thameslink trains.

One of the new Class 700 Thameslink trains. - Credit: Archant

Commuters across Comet country faced the headache of train fare hikes of an average of 3.4 per cent on their tickets as they boarded trains on the first working day of the new year.

It’s the biggest increase to fares since 2013 with a hike of up to 3.6 per cent on season tickets.

The price rises are set by the Department for Transport in line with rises in inflation.

A 12-month season ticket for unlimited daily travel between Biggleswade and all London transport zones now costs £5,856 or £12.62 per day. From Stevenage it is £5,084 – £10.95 per day – and from Hitchin it is £5,216 or £11.24 per day.

A spokesman for Govia Thameslink – which operates most of the services through our area – said the Government will use the cash increase to plough money back into the rail infrastructure and make improvements to lines and stations.

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The firm is set to unveil a series of major improvements to its services from May this year with new trains, increased capacity and direct routes connecting our area with Brighton and the south coast.

The changes include added capacity into London for 35,000 to 40,000 more passengers in each three-hour peak period and new ‘cutting-edge’ Class 700 Thameslink trains.

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There will be new north-south cross-London connections for Cambridge and Peterborough (via Gatwick), Littlehampton, Greenwich, Dartford, Medway Towns, East Grinstead and Horsham, and new links to Gatwick Airport, the Eurostar at St Pancras and an interchange at Farringdon to link with the Elizabeth line Crossrail services across central London – from December 2019.

A spokesman for Govia said: “On services to and from stations in the Comet area, passengers will this year benefit from new Thameslink journeys to central London stations such as City Thameslink, Farringdon, Blackfriars, the newly-rebuilt London Bridge, East Croydon and Gatwick. We’ll have more new air-conditioned trains and – crucially – many more seats into London to be delivered incrementally from May.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train operators and Network Rail, said: “On average, fares will rise by less than inflation this year. For every pound paid in fares, 97p goes directly back to operating and improving services and, with more people travelling that means more money for investment by the private and public partnership railway to build the better network Britain needs.”

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