Call for an end tothe '˜great rail rip-off'

The cost of commuting by train from Berwick to Newcastle and Edinburgh has been slated by a local councillor.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:10 am

Following the 3.1% New Year price rise, a season ticket from Berwick to Newcastle now costs an eye-watering £4,456 while a season ticket to Edinburgh is £3,976.

Coun Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East on Northumberland County Council, says the Government must act to put an end to the ‘great rail rip off’.

She said: “Berwick is situated pretty much at the half way point between Edinburgh and Newcastle and should be promoted much more as a commuter town.

“Residents and the town’s economy would clearly benefit from this but the rail companies provide barriers with the absence of later trains, a more frequent service to other non-major stations and the high price of train tickets which compare very unfavourable with the rest of Europe.

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“Every year rail commuters have to contend with inflation-busting price increases without seeing any real improvements to the services, in fact in many cases they are getting worse.

“The season ticket arrangements are a little better than a complete sham. The pricing offers not much of a saving in reality and the main benefit is convenience.”

She adds that in their promotion of the so-called benefits of season tickets, tellingly, the rail companies say little about the savings and talk up convenience and flexibility.

While the vast majority of commuters travel a maximum of five days a week, Monday to Friday, and do one journey to work and one journey back home, Trainline and LNER both promote the ability of season ticket holders to travel between home and their destination station as many times as they like.

Coun Hill said: “This is a complete joke – as if bosses across the country are allowing workers to take some time out the office to travel back and forth a few times on the train to get the benefit of their season ticket!

“It is time that these companies stopped taking commuters for a proverbial ride and the government acted to end this great rail rip-off.”