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Keep fares affordable for young commuters, say campaigners

25 August 2015

Virgin Trains are set to scrap a key benefit for young people on their West Coast franchise.

The changes will mean that commuters with the Young Person's 16-25 railcard will now not be able to buy off peak tickets on peak time trains, meaning some fares will double overnight, potentially pricing many young workers off the railway.

The new rules for railcards come into effect from the 6 September. This particularly affects the many young people who commute into London from surrounding towns to avoid the city's high living costs, so increasing their rail fares will make it even harder to for them to keep their work or training positions. Holders of senior and disabled railcards will also be affected by the changes.

Martin Abrams, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“Stealth fare increases like this are having a huge impact on rail users across the country. This change will hit young people trying to work in London but not able to afford to live there. Many of these people will now be forced to give up their jobs - how is that good for the economy? This is an issue for the Government, which after all controls the franchise - major fares changes like this ought to be subject to some public consultation."

Campaigner Georgia May said:

“When the new policy comes into place it will be financially unviable for myself, and many other young people to commute to work on peak time Virgin Train services. It will mean I will have to give up my job after only starting in June. This is totally unfair for young workers to be penalised this way. I'm so worried about this and I hope Virgin Trains will change their minds. I've started a petition to fight these changes and hope it will get a lot of support."


For further information please contact:

Richard Watkins, Press Officer, at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6494 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to editors

Sign the petition to stop the Virgin West Coast Train fare rises here

In December 2011 Virgin Trains introduced new rules which allowed holders of qualifying railcards to travel on peak time trains using off peak tickets – the only train operator to do this. From 6 September this will not be possible meaning railcard users will now only be allowed to purchase peak time tickets, resulting in much higher train fares.  

Campaign for Better Transports’ Fair Fares Now campaign calls for cheaper, fairer and simpler train fares.

Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929)


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