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Barnstaple to Exeter commuters angry as train fares rise by 4.2%

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 03, 2013

By Nicole Travers-Wakeford

FARE INCREASE: A train pulls in at Barnstaple Station.   Picture: Mike Southon. To order call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref:  BNMS20110311A-001_C

FARE INCREASE: A train pulls in at Barnstaple Station. Picture: Mike Southon. To order call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20110311A-001_C

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PEOPLE travelling to work or back home after the Christmas and New Year break were faced with the news of a price increase in rail fares.

From yesterday commuters travelling from Barnstaple to Exeter have to pay an extra 40p for a cheap day ticket.

Average ticket prices have increased by 4.2 per cent nationally.

For people travelling to Exeter for work on a cheap return ticket five days a week will pay an extra £2 a week. This will add up to an extra £104 a year.

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Those taking the same trip on a single ticket will pay an extra 80p. Over 52 weeks this will add up to an extra £208, which commuters say they can do without.

Joanne Williams, 24, lives in St Albans and says the increase in train fares will have a dramatic impact on how often she can visit her mum in Northam.

Joanne said: "It is hard at the moment anyway. I can't come down and see my mum as much as I would like because I can't afford it.

"At a glance people might not think 40p is a lot but it will soon add up, it is annoying. For four of us to come down just before Christmas it cost us £200. It then cost us an extra £160 to get the train back home.

"When you think about the cost the money could pay for a family holiday. Mum offered to pay half of my train ticket but she can't really afford it either. It will be hard."

Cathy Woodcock, 25, lives in Bideford and says she is not surprised to hear of a price increase.

She said: "It is not unexpected. It still works out cheaper for me to take a train if I am travelling on my own.

"For people having to commute from Barnstaple to Exeter each day for work the price increase will have a impact.

"It's unfortunate, but we have to get used to it. I do think people would use the trains more often if tickets weren't so expensive."

Liz Belcher is retired and lives in North East Scotland. She used to live in Hele Bay and still has family there. She said price rises are bound to have a negative impact on the train industry. Liz said: "I don't see how the price rise can be justified. It won't help people who travel by train.

"Sometimes a train is the only mode of transport for people. Sometimes they don't have an alternative."

Dave Ladbrook, 55, from Bath uses the train to visit family in North Devon. Even though the price increase won't stop him from travelling by train he can see it causing problems for others.

He said: "There are pay increases all around us. This is just another added pressure because people's wages are staying the same.

"It is extra cash people have to find which will be hard. I think this will rumble on for years and I can imagine it will be tough for lots of people."

Dan Paynes, a spokesman for First Great Western, said: "The changes are based on a government fares formula. It is designed to make sure we can cover costs such as fuel and staff costs. Across the board there is a 4.2 per cent increase on tickets.

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