Observer Comment: Rail fare increases... difficult to justify

COMMUTERS will bear the brunt of the rail fare increases announced this week, with the possibility that fares on some routes will increase by as much as 13 per cent.

This will be hard to stomach for many in Hastings who already feel that they are not getting value for money and are now trapped between a rock and a hard place, as they have no choice but to pay.

Of course money is needed for investment in the rail network to continue, but this steep increase is difficult to justify in an area which up until now has seen few improvements in terms of rail travel.

Hopefully upgrades to the infrastructure of the rail network in our area will mean that the next couple of years will bring some visible improvements in terms of service and journey times.

The Government is urging commuters to abandon their cars and take to public transport, but fare increases such as those to come into effect next January, may well have the opposite effect.

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WE support council leader Jeremy Birch and college principal Janak Patel in their drive to turn people on to alternative forms of energy.

Any idea or proposal designed to cut down the town’s carbon output and provide cleaner sources of energy can only be welcomed.

But the fact remains that Hastings’s recycling rates are well below the national average and it has an unenviable fly tipping problem.

Tackling these two issues must be a high priority before we can consider ourselves to be living in an environmentally-friendly town.

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IT has been called the most competitive year to enter higher education since records began.

The clamour for university places is particularly intense as many students who would have taken a gap year are postponing their travels because of the rise in tuition fee rises in the next academic year.

So congratulations to all those students who made the grade in their A-levels yesterday. Taking up a degree, and paying back the costs of studying, is not an easy option.