Virgin West Coast commuters' fares could more than double from SeptemberComments Off on Virgin West Coast commuters' fares could more than double from September
Commuters have expressed their fury after Virgin West Coast decided to scrap railcard discounts on some of its fares, meaning some ticket prices could almost triple.
Travellers were yesterday sent an email to explain that they will not be able to buy off-peak tickets for peak-time trains using their railcards as of September 6.
A standard peak-time return from Manchester to London Euston will more than double for railcard users – from £81.20 to around £219.40, according to reports. The full fare is £325.
One disabled railcard user said on Facebook that this will take the cost of a return journey from Shrewsbury to London Euston from £74.70 to £257.40 – an increase of 245%.
“Shocking, shameful and distressing,” the railcard holder said.
Virgin said that discounts are still available at peak times, but not on offpeak tickets and that the change will “bring us in line with other long distance train operating companies”.
— Simon Koppel (@SimonKoppel) August 25, 2015
“From 6th September railcard holders will no longer be able to buy off peak tickets for use on our peak services.We are the only train operator to offer this double discount where customers can use discounted, off-peak tickets on peak-time trains,” a spokeswoman said.
Georgia May, who has started a Change.org petition to battle the new rules, said: “This sudden U-turn in policy will have a direct negative impact many and is a threat to people’s careers if they can no longer afford to travel to work.”
May said that commuters travelling to work in London, Milton Keynes and Birmingham on railcards including the 16-25 Young Persons Railcard will be hit.
Even with discounts available on advance tickets, May said the cost of her commute will treble.
Manchester MP Lucy Powell has called for an urgent review of the changes.
She told Manchester Evening News: “Railcards are used overwhelmingly by older people, people with disabilities, young people or people with families. These changes will lead to huge increases in fares for the customers the railcard system should be supporting.”