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Farnborough Main commuters to be hit by 3.5% rail fare rise

Rail fares are set to rise by 3.5% from January with some season tickets going up by more than £140 a year

Farnborough Main railway station

Commuters travelling from Farnborough Main will be hit hard by the rising cost of rail fares next year.

It was announced this week that rail fares are set to increase by an average of 3.5% in January.

Under the formula, average fares in England are due to go up by July’s retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation, plus 1%. Regulated fares, which include season tickets and off-inter-city tickets, have continued to increase by more than the rate of inflation in most years since 2004.

However, under a ‘flex’ rule, train companies can raise fares by 2% above the average, as long as the overall average stays at RPI plus 1%.

As a result, some fares could increase by as much as 5.5% next year.

Farnborough Main train station is one of the busiest in the south east, providing direct links to London Waterloo, and was used by almost three million people during 2012-13.

It is the 160th busiest station out of the 2,535 in the UK and fares to London from the station are already more expensive than nearby towns.

Rushmoor councillor Mike Roberts commutes from the station daily and pays almost £4,400 a year for a season ticket. On Tuesday, Cllr Roberts campaigned at the station for Action For Rail, a nationwide protest against rising rail fares.

He said: “It really is a big issue and the gap between people’s wages and the rising costs is getting bigger every year, particularly in the south east.

“We need the government to change the system, the cost of living will hit extremely hard when the figures rise.”

An annual season ticket from Farnborough Main, including London zones 1 to 6, could rise as much as £239.58 to £4,595.58.

Sue O’Hare, from Sandhurst, also commutes daily from Farnborough to London.

She said: “I have no real alternative but to commute by train, and as a university employee my salary has hardly risen at all in the last few years.

“I’m sure there are many thousands of people in the same situation as me. This is a deliberate strategy by the Government, which wants to put more of the cost of the railways onto those who use them, while encouraging the rail companies to invest.

“The service appears to have been getting worse, in winter there were many disruptions caused by the weather and even now there are many carriages still being repaired which means shorter trains and even more overcrowding than usual.

“The only investment I have seen personally was in the new car park at Farnborough, which has so far only exacerbated the congestion problems caused by the poorly thought out entrance and exit.

"I do not welcome the above-inflation fare increase, and nor do I support the Government strategy."

 

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