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MP raps rail changes

MP Anne Main has spoken out against the new travelling restrictions that will affect thousands of train users who travel into London each day.

About 14,000 people a day will be affected by the new restrictions that only allow season ticket holders and standard day return ticket holders to return northbound from London between 4.30pm and 7.01pm.

Passengers travelling after 9.30am who are able to purchase cheap day returns, family tickets, DaySave tickets and travel cards will only be able to return outside of the restricted hours.

First Capital Connect (FCC), which recently took over the Bedford to Brighton line which runs through , has brought in the changes to help relieve overcrowding at peak times.

Managing director of FCC Elaine Holt said: "We realise that overcrowding is a major concern for our customers and we are looking at different ways of resolving this problem."

Ms Main has requested a meeting with Ms Holt to voice her unhappiness with the decision and has also written to the Secretary of State for Transport Douglas Alexander for his opinion.

She said: "We really need to encourage more use of public transport. By changing the conditions of carriage, which has in effect increased fares, First Capital Connect will only discourage the use of their trains.

"I have been contacted by numerous constituents who are extremely angry with this decision.

"They feel that at first they were asked to travel at different times now they are having their arms twisted by being forced to pay more for travelling at a convenient time.

"And why should people be charged extra for wanting to get home to their families straight after work?"

The company is expecting a ten per cent reduction in passengers travelling after 9.30am after the changes come into effect from Sunday.

Passengers caught travelling between the restricted times without a valid ticket will be made to pay the cost of a full price ticket.

10:15amMonday12thJune2006

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