The mayor of Bridlington has slammed a planned hike in rail fares claiming it could be a “disaster” for tourism in the town.
Rail passengers travelling to Bridlington face a 3.5% increase in fares from January 2015, which could be hiked a further 2% by the line’s operator - Northern Rail.
Councillor Shelagh Finlay said: “We need to encourage visitors to come to Bridlington and a fare rise on the trains will certainly not do this.
“I use the trains myself and I am not happy about the increase in prices. We rely on tourists coming by rail and road to the area so it would be a disaster.”
The prices are set to rise next year across the country, however it is up to individual train operators whether an extra 2% increase will be added to the cost of a ticket.
Councillor Cyril Marsburg, of Bridlington Town Council, said: “Trains are extremely expensive now and potential visitors to the area could be discouraged from making the journey to Bridlington.
“The more money people spend on their transport to the town, the fewer funds they will have to spend while they are in the area on leisure activities which bring a sustainable income to local businesses.”
Bob Hillery, president of the Bridlington Tourism Association, said: “I wouldn’t think that a 3.5% increase would have an impact on tourists coming to Bridlington for the day too much.
“I believe the main victims of the inflation will be residents who use the service daily. The season ticket will likely cost around £2,000 between Hull and Bridlington which is a big sum to pay.”
David Walford, rail development consultant, said: “The direct train from Hull to Scarborough runs every 30 minutes through Driffield and Bridlington which is a good service and it brings a lot of tourism into the area. It is these services that we need to protect as it could setback the area millions of pounds.
“I understand that improvements cost but there is an imbalance where an inappropriate increase in fares comes in. There is no level playing field between the East Yorkshire lines and the central busy lines. An increase in our fares would consequently be subsidising changes and improvements to West and South Yorkshire trains.”
A spokesperson for Northern Rail said: “We run hundreds of different services which will need to be recalculated. It is up to each individual rail operator to decide how much to charge after the RPI inflation and we won’t know how much we will be charging for each route until November time.”
Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “Money from fares pays for more trains, better stations and faster services on what is already Europe’s fastest growing, safest, and most improved railway. Over the next five years, £38 billion will be invested in improving the network.
“The government decides the average change to regulated fares each year. For a decade, successive governments have regulated commuter fares so as to increase the share of rail’s cost paid by passengers rather than taxpayers. We want to continue getting more out of every pound we spend and encourage more train travel to pay for services and improvements.”
This week Northern Rail has denied it is planning to reduce the number of services to Bridlington from Sheffield and Doncaster. However a potential reduction of passengers using the trains has caused worry that some services could be closed in the future.