To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how First Great Western's proposed 20 per cent increase in off-peak fares and 25 per cent increase in car parking charges accord with the Government's policy of encouraging greater public use of rail travel. [HL5421]
The level of unregulated fares is a commercial matter for individual train operating companies, but in setting levels they will wish to ensure that they are competitively priced to attract business. First Great Western made a number of changes to its off-peak fares structure within the rules of fares regulation in September. Although some unregulated off-peak return fares have increased, off-peak single fares were reduced by around 50 per cent to enable a more flexible structure to be introduced. Following discussions with the Department for Transport and Passenger Focus, First Great Western has applied easements to restrictions on some Super-Off-Peak fares to/from Pewsey and to Cornwall to allow travel earlier than was originally proposed.
Car parking charges are a commercial matter for the operator.