Metrolink fares set to rise 6%

Metrolink said fares will increase again in January to cover operating costs and ongoing investment in stop improvements, new trams and expansion.

Members of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, which oversees Metrolink, will consider the network's annual ticketing review next Friday 11 November.

The ongoing £1.4bn expansion will create new lines to Oldham and Rochdale town centres, Ashton-under-Lyne, East Didsbury and Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe, and the Second City Crossing.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the committee, said: "For passengers, there is no ideal time to increase fares but any change will always be the least it can be to meet the growing costs of running, improving and expanding the network.

"All the money we raise from fares goes back into the network in some way, but Metrolink is no more immune to inflation than anyone else and the Retail Price Index, which is the benchmark for the annual fare review, indicates how much costs and prices have changed in the past year.

"In simple terms, what cost us £100 last year now costs us £105 and we have to make up that difference."

If approved, Metrolink fares will increase by inflation plus 1%. There will also be a number of specific changes such as introducing 'next stop' fares across the network and changing season tickets for cross-city journeys, to address certain anomalies that have developed over time. As a result, this year's review proposes Metrolink tickets increase by an average of approximately 6% in January.

Fuel prices have risen by around 16%, councillors will be told, and the Department for Transport has announced that regulated rail fares nationally are expected to rise in January by at least 8%.

Under the proposals, there will be no increases to weekend, family or child tickets. In several cases child fares will reduce. If approved, the proposals mean child fares will have been frozen since 2007 and the price of family tickets will have been frozen since 2008.

Cllr Fender added: "The commitment to keeping increases low is there for all to see: the price of fuel is up more than twice as much, tickets on trains are due to rise by more, and the price of bus and tube tickets in London is going up by more as well.

"I can assure passengers that all the money we raise from fares goes back into the network in some way. We have been able to freeze weekend and family tickets once again and, in the case of child fares, there are even reductions."

If approved, the changes will come into effect on 3 January 2012.

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