McLoughlin issues rail fares pledge

Rail ticketNew Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has promised to tackle "anomalies" in the fares charged by rail operators.

In his first Commons appearance since being appointed to the role in the Cabinet reshuffle, Mr McLoughlin said he would examine the fare structures used by train companies.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
But Mr McLoughlin insisted there was no easy answer to the rising cost of train travel, with fare increases necessary to pay for upgrades on the railways.

He told MPs: "I think there are a number of anomalies as far as ticket fares are concerned.
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"I see them on the train service that I use where you are paying a huge amount of money, over £170 to use one train, and then a train 20 minutes later is a lot cheaper.

"I think we have got to seriously try and address a number of these particular problems and to look at the whole way in which fares and the fare structures that are used by the rail industry are actually implemented by them.

"In certain areas consumers have very, very strong cases and we should look at that, and I will be looking at that."

He was speaking during a debate called by Labour demanding a 1% above inflation cap on fares for 2013 and 2014 instead of the average 6.2% hike planned for January.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said many private rail companies operating in the UK were subsidiaries of much larger operators on the continent, where fares were lower.

Flexibility over pricing meant rail companies could increase some fares by up to 11%, she said.

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