Posted 15th September 2010 | 5 Comments
High Speed rail 'will be affordable', says report
THE High Speed rail campaigning group Greengauge 21 says the price of travel on a future domestic High Speed network will be comparable with fares on conventional trains. A new report says that many passengers could be paying no more than £20, and dismisses claims that High Speed rail will be the preserve of a wealthy elite.
The report – High Speed Rail: Fair and Affordable – says that both Greengauge 21 and Government analysis assumes that there will not be premium fares. “That’s why we can fairly describe it as a ‘Railway for All’”, said Greengauge 21 director and transport consultant Jim Steer.
He continued: “We have based our analysis on a breakdown of today’s rail fares for the kind of journeys that will be made in future by High Speed. Average fares owill be around £40 for a single journey and many will actually travel for much less – around the £20 mark”.
The report also examines the level of fares paid now. It says the relevance of today’s fares is that the business cases developed by both Greengauge 21 and HS2 Ltd have assumed that High Speed prices will be set at the same level on average as conventional rail ticket prices – and it is now clear what this would mean in practice.
Jim Steer said: “What we see is that the number of rail journeys made across the lowest income quintile is about the same as the amount of rail travel in the middle income groups. Higher trip rates in the highest income groups reflect the preponderance of rail travel in the South East, especially commuting into London, where average incomes are well above the national average.”
The report has been warmly received in those English regions which are likely to benefit from the first domestic High Speed routes.
West Midlands PTE chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “Whilst we recognise the importance of HS2 to the West Midlands in terms of regeneration, job creation and GDP, it’s also important that High Speed rail is affordable and accessible by all. We therefore welcome this report.”
Northern Way chairman David Begg added: “We know that the faster links to London that High Speed rail can provide are vital to the North’s long term economic prospects. What the report also highlights is that High Speed rail fares will also be very attractive to the general public.”
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