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Rail fare paradox.

SIR - First Great Western's decision to embark on a price war on the railways of South Wales throws up a paradox or two.

On the one hand, what sane person would argue against the logic of being able to buy a product at 50% of its current price? And given that rail is competing against the private motor car, and between Swansea and Cardiff First Cymru buses' own shuttle service, a headline-grabbing 50% fare reduction should start people flocking to the trains.

However, on the other hand, the FGW fares are undercutting those set by Arriva - and for which FGW get some percentage because they can also be used on their services.

If Arriva's revenue will fall, the only solution available to them and the Welsh Assembly Government will be to look at reducing the level of service between Swansea and Cardiff. Is that a price worth paying?

I travelled by train between Cardiff and Neath for nearly four years, paying no more than pounds 40 a week for the privilege. Not once did the train companies ever promote that competitive fare. And while it may seem strange to argue against a 50% price reduction, I along with many others thought my fare of pounds 40 was reasonable and extremely good value for money.

MARK YOUNGMAN

Bryncoch, Neath
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 26, 2006
Words:218
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