Recognition PR Business Team

Member Article

Yorkshire business leaders urge action on train fares

Henderson Insurance Brokers Ltd (HIBL), backed by the Yorkshire Chairmen of the Institute of Directors (IoD), have written to the Managing Director of East Coast trains to urge action on business fares to and from London.

Joe Henderson, Chief Executive of Henderson Insurance Brokers, and Jonathan Oxley, the West Yorkshire Chairman of the Institute of Directors have written to Karen Boswell complaining that the social obligations of the railway pricing system are being underwritten by businesses that routinely have to pay top fares for urgent journeys.

The businesses say that East Coast trains should invest in a special ‘Business Builder’ rail card that would be available up to ten times a year to members of recognised business organisations such as the Institute of Directors or the Chambers of Commerce.

Joe Henderson, CEO of Henderson Insurances Brokers, said: ““It is galling to sit on a packed train to London after booking a ticket for an urgent meeting with a client and knowing that there are hundreds of people who have paid much less but are not necessarily on a journey that will benefit the Northern economy. All discounted fares are paid for by those who are forced to pay the full fare; and, as standard fares rise, it is beginning to have a distorting effect on normal business costs.

“Business based in the North of England are very often exporting their products or services to the South East, they are regularly summoned to business meetings at little notice and cannot plan in the long distance for discounted seats. Furthermore, the increasing number of categories of people with a social need for cheaper seats is causing costs to rise for every other traveller, so it seems fair to offer business a discounted pricing structure too.”

At present, booking peak-time tickets from Leeds to the Capital costs £249.00 for a standard class any time return. This stands in stark contrast to the prices paid by those with discounts for peak time trains, including those with Job Centre Plus discounts as well as senior citizens and students, who would pay £164.35.

Jonathan Oxley, chairman of the West Yorkshire committee of the Institute of Directors, said: “There is an urgent need from businesses in the North for lower fares to London. The impact of higher fares hits cash flow and cannot always be avoided by planning in advance. If the current exemptions from full fares are socially important then consideration should be given to a new incentive for businesses for a modest number of cut price journeys.

“A ‘Business Builder’ card would ensure legitimate business users could access at least some peak time journeys at a reasonable cost. If a 20% discount were applied it could lower a standard peak time return fare to London from Leeds saving just under £50.00 per journey or £500 per year for ten business trips.

“I hope the matter can be addressed by East Coast Trains, which is wholly owned by the taxpayer and has an obligation to businesses in the North to help with the Government’s oft-stated aim to re-balance our economy.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Recognition PR Business Team .

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