Merseyrail to freeze fares for six months

Merseyrail fares are set to be frozen for six months in a bid to support passengers with the cost of living.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has confirmed he will seek to stop proposed rail fare increases on services operated across the Liverpool City Region. Utilising funding clawed back from Stadler, the region’s new train manufacturer, Mr Rotheram has proposed the fares not go up until September at the earliest.

Rail fares across the country are proposed to rise by 4.9% on March 3, but services across the Merseyrail network will now be safeguarded from similar increases.

Single or return tickets, day savers and RailPass tickets will remain at their current price until Autumn under the new proposals. Mr Rotheram said the freeze on ticket prices would help shield passengers from further pressures.

He said, “Given the current economic circumstances as people continue to struggle with the cost of living crisis, we are trying to do everything in our power to make life easier for the travelling public, be it our £2 bus fare cap, or this announcement on freezing rail fares. While passengers across the country face another rise in March, I’m ensuring that commuters in our region are shielded from it.

“Travelling around our region should be as quick, cheap and reliable as possible; that’s why I’m building the London-style integrated transport network local people deserve. I’ll have further announcements about tap-and-go and smart ticketing coming soon.”

After a year of delays and disruption, it was announced last month that the rail operator would offer a full refund to commuters impacted at three stops. Last January, passengers on the Kirkby line became the first on the region’s rail network to commute on the new £500m publicly owned trains. 

It was revealed last week how more than £280,000 is being used to finance the potential 1,235 claims for passengers at Headbolt Lane, Kirkby and Fazakerley who were offered their tickets back in full. As of February 1, more than 700 passengers had been repaid.

Speaking last month at the Liverpool City Region transport committee Neil Grabham, managing director at Merseyrail, said it had been a “challenging year” for the operator. He said: “Clearly a time of huge transformation in rail across the city, probably the largest for a generation. 

“Despite what were some challenging times, as is always the case when you bring a new fleet into operation, Merseyrail has maintained its place in the top five operators in the country.”

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news