Fury as rail firm axes some off-peak fares

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A train company is axing some off-peak fares – including in Greater Manchester – to the fury of transport union the RMT.

The RMT now fears that the axing, by Northern Rail, is “a taste of what’s to come” when new Northern and new TransPennine Express (TPE) franchises come into effect in 2016.

Northern has announced that from September 8 off-peak tickets can no longer be used at peak times during weekday evenings on certain services.

The affected journeys are those wholly within the Travel South Yorkshire, Transport for Greater Manchester and Metro West Yorkshire areas and some routes radiating from these areas.

Also included in the changes is the Hexham to Newcastle line.

But no changes are being made in the Merseytravel ticketing area as evening peak restrictions have been in place for many years.

Northern said the changes were being made “after the Department for Transport (DfT) asked Northern to look at several options to generate additional revenue as part of its new franchise agreement.”

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “The axing of off-peak fares is a savage kick in the teeth for people already struggling with the burden of low pay and austerity.”