RAIL fares from Swindon remain some of the highest in the country despite promises from First Great Western that they are doing all they can to keep prices low.
The arrival of this month’s hike in rail fares saw a season ticket to London go up by nearly £200, and this week it has been revealed that per mile Swindon is in the top 10 of rail fare prices in the country.
The Association of Train Operating Companies who operates services between 2,500 stations has carried out a break down of rail prices across the country.
For peak fares, known as anytime tickets, some are close to reaching a pound a mile with a trip from Swindon to London costing 72p per mile, the third highest in the country.
The price for a season ticket per mile from Swindon to London costs 20p and an advance ticket works out as only 10p a mile.
A spokesman for First Great Western said: “We recognise the disparity between other service and have been working hard over the last couple of years to reduce the difference between Swindon fares and those further east.
“This is a result of a historic anomaly which dates back to the days of British Rail.
“In January, we saw an average increase in our prices of 2.57 per cent which is less than half the increase seen by other stations, which highlights our efforts to bring prices down.
“We do recognise it and where we can, because some fares are regulated and we can’t do anything about them, we are doing what we can to keep fares low.”
Meanwhile, First Great Western argues that rising passenger numbers reflect more frequent and better services with a decent range of value for money tickets.
“Rail passengers are rising year on year, and we are seeing more people travelling by rail than we have before,” it said.
“Compared with other means of transport, train travel offers good value for money.
“A return journey from Swindon into London by car, for example, would cost about the same as our Anytime walk-on fare of £109.
“Commuters with season tickets pay just £15 each way, which wouldn’t even cover the Congestion Charge (£10) or parking (Ave £35/day).
“This, coupled with the fact that a journey is around 45 minutes faster by train means that rail travel from Swindon is more popular than ever, with passenger numbers continuing to exceed predicted figures.”