Commuters hit by rail fare increases

Rail tickets held out in front of ticket machine Some rail season ticket holders have seen fares rise by about 50% in the past 10 years

The return to work after the Christmas break is even more gruelling for rail commuters facing the annual hike in fares.

Tens of thousands of commuters face big increases for the 10th successive year. Season ticket holders across the commuter towns of the east will be paying above inflation rises.

More then a year after it was announced, Oyster, the magnetic travel card system used throughout London, is being extended to Shenfield and Brentwood.

So an annual rail ticket from Shenfield will buck the trend and cost £16 less, at just more than £2,700, from January.

Everywhere else sees significant rises.

Fare Increases to London 2013

  • Colchester - 4.1% to £4,556
  • Huntingdon - 4.2 % to £4,700
  • Peterborough - 4.2% to £6,888
  • Northampton - 4.7% to £4,980

The government has defended the increases, saying it's only right for passengers to pay towards investment in the railways.

Therese Coffey, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: "We did come back and revisit this and put the price rise back to 1% above inflation, which is what Labour introduced in 2004.

"One of the things we have to recognise is that we have to pay for investment as a whole for the railways and we need to fund resources for our own lines.

"MPs from all parties, here in the east, are united in pushing for investment and we are continuing to press the Secretary of State to ensure our franchise stays on track."

Northamptonshire saw the region's highest increases. Labour's Andy Sawford, MP for Corby, believes the increases are simply unfair.

"A cost of a single, off-peak ticket to London from Corby is now £44.50. This is a 6% increase on 2012 prices. All this is happening at a time when real wages are being squeezed.

"David Cameron promised he would limit fare rises to 1% above inflation, which should have seen fare rises capped at 4.2 per cent in Northamptonshire."

The train operating companies say successive governments have required them to increase average season ticket prices by more than inflation.

The government says it has already cut back the latest increase and is determined to reduce the cost of running railways, so it can end the era of above inflation fare rises - something I'm sure we would all welcome.

Deborah McGurran Article written by Deborah McGurran Deborah McGurran Political editor, East of England

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I'm sure the Minister for Railways will be able to address the concerns of commuters from the back of his plush government Toyota Avensis instead of mixing with the hoi-polloi whom he serves.
    Surely not another Tory Minister out of touch with the public in these times of austerity, whilst 'we're all in this together'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    The government's policy, introduced by Labour in 2009, is to gradually move from a railway paid for 50% by the taxpayer and 50% by passengers, to 25% by the taxpayer and 75% by passengers.

    So the passengers must eventually expect a 50% rise in fares over 2009 prices, plus inflation, plus profit margin for the rail companies.

    That means over-inflation price rises every year for decades!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I still don't understand why increasing travel costs is good for the economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Today's news says there are moves afoot to create new stations serving Cambridge.
    This county is a smaller version of England - most of the resources feeding the capital whilst the others make do with less . Millions on the guided bus-way while the rural areas suffer cuts in their services meaning borrowing to buy train tickets or filling the roads with costly cars - more income for the exchequer



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