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UK train network in disarray

As we have reported over the last few weeks, a number of UK train franchises are under significant financial pressure as the economic downturn continues to hit both costs and passenger numbers. However, National Express has attracted fury from consumer groups after announcing the introduction of reservation charges on its East Coast and East Anglia franchise. Those looking to reserve a single ticket will now be charged £2.50 with a £5 charge for a return ticket.

At a time when train prices have come under significant scrutiny, where the complex UK system allows cheaper travel if you plan your journey in stages, this is possibly not the best time to hit public transport users with yet more charges. While the company argues that some passengers have been abusing the free reservation system by reserving a number of seats across different trains does this really justify the introduction of substantial reservation charges?

It is no secret that millions upon millions of pounds of UK taxpayer's money have been poured into the UK public transport network for many years with some success to date. However, additional costs such as reservation charges do not exactly attract the interest of consumers across the UK and could prompt a significant backlash.

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