Price rises for South East rail commuters

 
Commuters at London Bridge Passenger Focus says increases are " piling pressure on already high fares"

Commuters in the South East, who already pay some of the highest rail fares in the country, are to bear the brunt of the annual fare rises in January.

Many will see their fares rise by close to the capped national average of 4.2%.

But, other season ticket holders will face inflation busting increases.

Commuters from Ramsgate, Dover Priory and Deal to London will see their season tickets go up 6.46% to £4,940 on 2 January.

Those travelling from Folkestone also face a steep increase of 5.98% to £4,888.

And, those travelling daily from Tonbridge to London will have to find an extra 5.2% bringing their season ticket to £ £3,796 from January.

Sussex commuters fare slightly better with increases marginally below the 4.2% cap.

Those buying a season ticket from Hove to London (Victoria) will see the cost rise by 4.1% to £3,860 .

Eastbourne to London (Victoria) will increase by the same amount bringing a season ticket to £4,228.

Some commuters will wonder how the train companies can get away with increasing fares above the 4.2% cap.

It is because train companies are able to increase some season tickets above the cap as long as the average increase on their trains is no more than 4.2%.

'Already high fares'

Passenger Focus has criticised the steep rises.

The chief executive, Anthony Smith, said: "After years of above-inflation fare rises, fresh increases are piling pressure on already high fares."

He has called for the government and the rail industry to work together to deliver on the promise to get fare rises in line with inflation.

Southeastern, which runs many of the services from Kent to London, said: "It is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year. Successive governments have instructed train companies every year to increase these regulated fares on average by more than inflation.

"In doing so, ministers have been seeking to cut the contribution from taxpayers towards the running costs of the railway and increase the share that comes from passengers."

But, the rail minister and Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes. Norman Baker has defended the increases.

He said the coalition government has taken pro-active steps to cut the planned fare rises from 3% to 1% above inflation until 2014.

He said that action will put an average of £45 per year back into the pockets of over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders.

He also said some commuter could find that they are £100 better off after the changes.

His Coalition colleague, the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells Greg Clark, says he believes passengers will feel "huge relief" because increases could have been steeper.

I'm not sure relief is what many commuters from the South East will be feeling when, yet again, they face an expensive return to work in January.

 
Louise Stewart Article written by Louise Stewart Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    Typical situation in the UK. Poor service and extortionate prices. My season ticket from Margate to Zone 1 is now over £5800 for the year.I have been keeping a log of train times and in November alone SE was only on time 4 times!!! Despite regular mails to the CEO Charles Horton, no one realy seems to care about the financial plight of commuters. 20% of my income now goes on rail fares.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    Can I advise commuters buying annual season tickets to try & find split tickets to make their journeys cheaper. Currently if travelling from Eastbourne an annual season ticket to Clapham is £3400(+) if you buy an annual ticket from Eastbourne to Epsom (via Clapham Junction (must say via Clapham as there are two options for this ticket)) its £2400 - this ticket is only going up by £76 this year

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    I use the train to commute to London from Kent. The price hike is unjustifiable. Perhaps its time to talk up the options of rail nationalisation - so that we have an affordable rail system like the rest of Europe. Commuting by rail is a green form of transport so should be encouraged. Let's see if any of the political parties have the guts to run with this which is what so many people want .....

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Salaries are going down but rail fares have gone up by over 6% every year in the South East. Everything the government controls goes up by excessive rates regularly; gas, electricity, petrol, rail fares, etc. I have just managed to get a job in london at a salary below what I was earning in 2004. How do they justify these increases every year, when South eastern provides a really shoddy service?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    So, the rail minister says it will put an average of £45 into the pockets of season ticket holders, is this some trick or slight of hand as it seems to me that they are in fact taking less out of you pocket seeing how all fares are still going up?

    I am very disappointed that the fares from Ramsgate are increasing to highest especially as thanet is one of the more deprived areas.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 4.

    It's very easy for Mr Clark to describe the increase for his constituents as a "huge relief". If they too had a flat in London and travel to and from London paid for by the taxpayer I am sure that they might look at it that way. As they have to pay for the daily slog and lousy service themselves I am sure that the words huge relief do not even occur to them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    It currently costs me £5,500 a year for the train. +£900 for parking and +£900 pounds for tube. How can it be justifiable that somebody has to pay nearly £7,500 just to get to work? Being a higher rate taxpayer means I need to earn around £15k just to pay my transport costs.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    This fare rise is just another example of the rush to explit commuters. I have been keeping a log of the train times I use from Margate to Victoria and return, and in November alone the train has only been on time 3 times. Up until Monday this week the trains have been a cumulative total of over 4 hours late this despite my regular updates to Mr Charles Horton, the CEO of Southeasternrail.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1.

    While many employee's are facing another year of salary freeze's, rail companies, in common with utilities, are allowed to apply another inflation busting increase.

    Another hollow promise of Mr Cameron has become evident with rail companies allowed to use an average increase figure of 4.2% meaning some are now facing increases of 6% or more on last years hike in rail fares!

 

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