YEP Says, January 2: Government and rail firms forget trains are a public service

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...and a new year means a new fight for courageous Courtney

ONCE again it is shaping up to be an unhappy new year for rail passengers.

From today, season tickets will be subject to yet another above-inflation price hike of 2.5 per cent.

In truth, increases of this sort are such a traditional feature of the new year return to work that many commuters will doubtless greet the news with little more than a resigned shrug.

However, this piecemeal inflation of the cost of rail travel adds up to a 20 per cent increase over the last five years – one which few regular travellers are likely to say has been mirrored by an equivalent improvement in the standard of service they are offered.

Ministers have told operators that they must now inform their customers that they could make huge savings if they use a ticket office rather than a self-service machine.

However it remains to be seen whether this really ends the dark art of ticketing, which can see passengers pay wildly different prices for what is effectively the same seat.

As was underlined by the farce over Christmas when engineering works at King’s Cross overran and passengers werelocked outside stations and left standing for hours on trains, both the Government and rail operators seem to have forgotten that national train travel is meant to be a public service.

New year, new fight for brave Courtney

A NEW year means a new hurdle for Courtney Turner and her family. The courageous youngster was thought to be in remission from leukaemia but recent tests showed that some still remains.

The good news is that a suitable bone marrow donor has been found – giving her a better chance of staying free of this terrible disease.

It is testament to those who sign up to the donor register that this brave 11-year-old is now hopeful of gaining a new lease of life in the coming months.

We wish her the best with her transplant and the recovery that follows. And, on behalf of her family, give thanks to the donor who has given them fresh hope.