Suffolk commuting ‘still cost-effective’

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COMMUTING from Suffolk still makes more sense than a home in London, in spite of the rise in rail fares.

As 5.9 per cent average increases were announced, one national online estate agent has argued that season ticket costs are now so high commuters may be better off buying homes in London than in ‘outlying commuter towns’.

But top Bury estate agent Ollie Peacock, a partner in Jackson Stops, said: “I suspect a location closer to London is going to be much more expensive than somewhere like East Anglia. I can’t believe a price hike on season tickets is going to change things.”

“Somewhere like Islington, to buy a four-bedroomed house you need £1.5 to £2 million – I can sell you a timber framed farmhouse with acres of land for that,” he said.

He added that it would also take a long time to make up moving costs and taxes on lower travel costs.

From January 2, the price of a season ticket from Bury St Edmunds to King’s Cross rises £260, or 4.6 per cent, to £5,880 while the same journey from Stowmarket costs £312, or 5.8 per cent, more at £5,400. Peak hour return fares from Bury to London are up six per cent from £76.10 to £80.70, while similar fares from Stowmarket are up 5.6 per cent from £80.90 to £85.40.

A peak Bury to Cambridge return rises 6.45 per cent to £13.20, .

Ross Taylor, secretary of the Mid Anglia Rail Passengers’ Association, said they accepted the Government view that rail fares must rise to pay for improvements, but he added: “What we want is to see the improvements they say are going to come from those increases.”

He said carriages had been improved locally and welcomed refurbishment of Bury station, but felt passengers wanted to see continuing improvement.

He added: “If you can avoid off-peak travel, look online for the best fares, but if you’ve got to travel to London at peak times you’re saddled with steep fares.”