The price of more than a million train tickets will be slashed by up to half in April and May as the government seeks to ease pressure on the cost of living – but commuters will not benefit as only off-peak and pre-sale tickets are on sale are included.
Called the Great British Rail Sale, Minister for Transport Grant Shapps announced that from today the price of selected train tickets will be reduced by up to 50%, with many others having “very significant reductions”.
Described the move as “just a small part of tackling the cost of living‘ Mr Shapps said the sale will give people ‘the opportunity to visit friends and family’ and use the rail network for perhaps the first time since COVID pandemic started.
The government hopes the sale, said to be the first of its kind, will help Households with rising bills afford travel across the UK and boost domestic tourism.
The discounted tickets go on sale from Tuesday, April 19, with passengers traveling between April 25 and May 27 at reduced fares and enhanced fares.
They are sold on a first come, first served basis.
“Very high discounts”
“Nobody says this will solve everything, but every little bit helps,” said the transport minister.
“And here, for example, a ticket from London to Edinburgh could cost as little as £22 – in this case exactly half that – from Manchester to Newcastle at £10.30.
“These are very significant cutsespecially for pre-sale tickets and for people who may not have had the opportunity to visit friends and family or who actually need to travel for work.
“These are very large discounts.
“Like I said, it’s never happened before because we didn’t have a single railway to do it with and Great British Rail is the reason we were able to do it – and I think it’s welcomed by many become people who want to travel – I know I’ll take advantage of that over the coming month.”
Other expected savings on travel include a single journey from York to Leeds from £5.60 to £2.80, London to Cardiff from £47 to £25 and Portsmouth Harbor to Penzance from £45.70 £22 is reduced.
“Small consolation” for the passengers
Officials said offering half-price train tickets is “one of the ways” the government is helping families with living expenses, after previously announcing measures to defer energy bills and offering tax breaks to some households.
But some have criticized the Great British Rail Sale for not helping commuters who are faced with rising travel costs.
work Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said this spring’s discounts were “a small consolation for passengers” after years of “rising fares”.
“A decade of brutal Tory tariff increases has pushed people off our railroads,” she said.
“This temporary respite will come as a small consolation to passengers who have been stripped of thousands since 2010 as fares have skyrocketed.
“And the decision to end sales just before half-time means many families will face the same high costs over the holiday season.”
Acknowledging that the sale doesn’t include top-of-the-line fares, Mr Shapps claimed that “it covers a fairly large number of tickets” and that he believes the program “will be warmly welcomed by a large number of people”.
Shapps: “I don’t rule out doing other things in the future”
The transport minister also did not rule out taking further measures to reduce fares in the future.
“We’ve been working on other programs, for example I introduced a flexible season pass during the end of COVID – over 200,000 of these have been sold,” he said.
“That’s great for those who travel maybe two or three days a week and it means they’re better off, those are for more regular commuters.
“But that Great British Rail Sale, like I said, over a million tickets. They’re going on sale on a first-come, first-served basis, and I think maybe it’ll inspire people to get back on our railroad and help out living costs.”
He continued: “I think everyone understands the principle of the sale. It’s on offer for a limited period of time. We’re obviously very excited to see how it goes and I don’t rule out doing other things in the future.”
Mr Shapps added that ministers “will always be looking for things we can do to try and bring down the cost of living”.
Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want everyone to be able to benefit from traveling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things, who he loves.
“As part of the Great British Rail Sale, customers can enjoy over a million discounted tickets to explore some of the amazing places accessible by rail.”
“Seems like a small gesture”
Rail travelers in Swindon reacted to the sale with mixed feelings.
“Anything that encourages people not to drive, especially if they don’t have to, is a good thing. But we’ll see – it seems like a small gesture, basically,” one rail user told Sky News.
A fellow passenger said the sale would not benefit him at all because he travels for work at peak times.
“I travel to Warrington from Gloucester or Worcester almost every day, obviously you have to drive at peak times to get to work on time,” he said.
“Off-peak, great for weekends I suppose, but commuter train costs keep going up.”
Another passenger added: “It’s good all round, isn’t it, because if it encourages people to leave, it helps businesses that are in other places and so on.
“So I think it’s a good thing, although I understand why some people might not necessarily feel like it’s an important thing.”
The Department for Transport said reforms to the rail sector through the Williams-Shapps plan for rail mean that selling tickets across the network should be easier going forward.
Rail fares halved to one million off-peak and advanced tickets amid cost-of-living crisis – but relocation won’t help commuters | UK News
Source link Rail fares halved to one million off-peak and advanced tickets amid cost-of-living crisis – but relocation won’t help commuters | UK News