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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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Long-distance fares rise least

Long-distance fares increased by less than other sectors in January 2018, according to the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR’s) latest analysis. 

Fares for the sector increased by 2.3% year on year, compared with 3.2% for operators in London and the South East, and 3.7% for regional operators. The national average was 2.9%.

In real terms, ORR says long-distance fares have risen by 35.8% since 1995, regional fares by 13.9%, and those in London and the South East by 12.2%. The national average is 20.5%. 

In terms of expenditure on fares, London and the South East accounted for 45% of the 2017 total, with long-distance 40.1% and regional 14.9%. 

The average First Class unregulated fare rose by 1.4% compared with January 2017 (a 2.5% real terms decrease), with unregulated Standard Class fares rising by 2.9% (a 1% real terms drop). Regulated Standard Class fares increased by 3.3%, but that was still a 0.7% decrease in real terms compared with the previous year. 

Anytime and season tickets, which account for almost half of ticket revenue, rose by an average of 3.1% compared with January 2017. Off-peak tickets increased by 3.7%, the largest increase by ticket type in January this year. 

Advance tickets rose by 1.1%, but increased their market share from 16.2% to 17.3%. The market share for season tickets fell from 22.6% to 20.9%. 

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