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First Great Western Secretly Hikes Fares By 11.11%

27 August 2013

Britain's largest rail firm has secretly increased advance rail fares by 11.11%, the TSSA revealed today.

The backdoor rise by First Great Western is the second fares hike for its millions of passengers in just eight months following an average 4.2 % across the board rise in January.

And with another 4.1% to come in January, it means their advanced fares will have been increased by over 20% in one year.

"This is little more than daylight robbery," said union gen sec Manuel Cortes.

"It is no wonder they are called Worst Great Western for they are simply ripping off their customers by way of this latest backdoor hike.

"Private rail franchises are a licence to print money and the First Group is exploiting that licence to the very limit.

"This is just blatant profiteering at the passengers expense.

He accused the firm of having a hidden agenda in only hiking its advanced fares for travel from September 8 at its 276 station ticket offices from Paddington to the West Country via Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall.

Buyers on line do not face any increase at all when they buy advance tickets which are discounted from 12 weeks before travelling.

"This is yet another move to close ticket offices by driving passengers on line when trying to find the cheaper fares," he said.

"They are penalising all passengers who buy advanced tickets at a station and that is particularly unfair on the middle aged and elderly who prefer to use their local booking office."

He is writing to First Group chief executive Tim O Toole demanding to know if he is also hiking advanced tickets at his four other franchises, First Capital Connect, TransPennine Express, First Hull Direct and ScotRail in September.

"John Major, in his cack handed privatisation of rail, left advanced fares out of the annual price capping formula of RPI plus 1 per cent.

"It means the likes of Worst Great Western can kick passengers in the teeth as often as they like by raising these unregulated fares as high as they like and when they like."

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