Rail fare hikes test events industry’s New Year resolution

UK rail fares went up officially by an average of 5.9 per cent from 2 January 2012, but some commuters will find their season tickets are rising by double figure amounts.

The Government, train companies and the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, argue that fare rises are necessary to sustain investment in tube and mainline systems.

However, it seems the burden of providing the investment is increasingly on the shoulders of the passenger rather than the exchequer.

With many booking agencies and venues facing a tough business climate for the New Year, rail fare hikes could be a further blow to the events industry in 2012.

Chief Executive of the Hotel Booking Agents Association, Peter Ducker, tells CN: “My first thought is, if an event is cancelled because of increased rail fares it probably wasn’t worth staging in the first place. But that isn’t the real answer.  The truth is that, because of this, numbers attending events will reduce – yet another reason for the attrition that we have all seen to cut deeper.

“No business will gain from this increase (with the obvious exception of the rail operators), and I do believe what doesn’t make you stronger makes you weaker.

“God knows we would benefit from a better rail infrastructure, but why does it cost so much here that in other parts of Europe? Will the trend ever reverse?”

UK air travellers also faced a shock to the New Year system, with many airports experiencing cancellations and delays due to the severe weather.

Edinburgh airport was closed to inbound flights and departing flights also faced problems.
The airport said there had been 42 cancellations in the morning of 3 January.

Heathrow, Gatwick and Glasgow airports also reported cancellations and delays.

The Portsmouth to St Malo Britanny Ferres service was diverted to Cherbourg due to adverse weather.
Do you have news for CN? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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