High Peak rail commuters will face a hike in fares next month, as significant changes to off-peak tickets come into force.
From September 8, Northern Rail, who operate train services from Buxton, New Mills and Glossop to Manchester, will scrap cheaper evening tariffs.
At present, rail users who purchase off-peak day singles and returns are restricted in the morning peak period but there are no evening peak-period restrictions.
When changes are imposed, off-peak tickets will no longer be valid during weekday evenings on services from 4.01pm to 6.29pm.
The move affects all of Northern Rail’s Greater Manchester services and extends to three High Peak lines, namely from Buxton, via Dove Holes, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale, New Mills Newtown and Disley, from New Mills Central, and from Glossop and Hadfield, via Dinting.
This means many rail users travelling from Buxton to Manchester who normally pay £9.90 for an off-peak return will be forced to pay £15.90 for an ‘anytime’ return.
Northern Rail blamed the Department for Transport for the cuts saying the government had asked it to look at several options to help reduce subsidy as part of its new franchise agreement.
A spokesman said: “The change to off-peak tickets is the only option that has been taken forward and will be used to reduce the cost of the railway to taxpayers by reducing subsidy to Northern.”
County Councillor Damien Greenhalgh said:“This government imposed fare hike is a real kick in the teeth for people already struggling with the burdens of low and stagnant wages and the ever increasing cost of living.”
The councillor, who is also chairman of the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership, added: “This jack up in fares is likely to have a negative effect on the night-time economy of the High Peak, Sheffield and Greater Manchester.
“And does nothing for the people’s widely held frustrations over the fairness and complexity of rail fares in the UK.”