Hornsey commuters worst off in UK

COMMUTERS travelling out of London from Hornsey are set to be hit hardest in the country by latest rail fare increases.

First Capital Connect (FCC) has scrapped their “flexi-time” tickets, which some commuters used to travel from Hornsey station to destinations such as Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City.

While the government restricts increases on fares travelling into large cities, nothing is done to stop rail operators increasing the price of tickets going in the opposite direction.

The scrappage of the “flexi” scheme means a season ticket between Hornsey and Stevenage will rise by 46.2 per cent from �194.40 to �282.20. A ticket from Hornsey to Welwyn Garden City will go up by 39.2 per cent. The increases are the highest in the UK.

The announcement comes just a month after Haringey’s three main rail operators – FCC, London Overground and National Express East Anglia – were rated bottom in terms of passenger satisfaction by a Travelwatch survey.

FCC came third from bottom for satisfaction levels and saw its figure plummet from the year before.

Hornsey ward councillor and Liberal Democrat leader Robert Gorrie blasted the increase, saying: “What do First Capital Connect have against Hornsey and especially against those of its residents who work in Stevenage or Welwyn Garden City?

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‘‘Fare increases of 40 per cent and more are completely out of order.”

Environment and transport spokeswoman for the group, Cllr Lyn Weber, agreed, adding: “An increase of 46 per cent is an outrageous rise in fares. First Capital Connect cannot be allowed to get away with hitting Hornsey residents hardest – I will be writing to Boris Johnson and the transport minister for them to investigate.”

A spokesman for FCC said they had removed the flexi-time season ticket that provided travel away from London in the morning and back into London after midday saying it was “against the flow” of travel and “only affected two tickets that hardly had any usage”.

He continued: “The tickets quoted are used by less than 0.3 per cent of our customers. The overwhelming vast majority of customers will see fares rise by an average of 5.5 per cent, which is less than the national average of 6.2 per cent.

“All of our fares are set at levels to encourage growth and it is not in our interest to price people off the railway.”