Fury over six per cent rail fare risesBy Stephen Lloyd
January 06, 2009
The New Year has brought whopping rail fare rises across the Mail area.
And the increases, some at more than double the rate of inflation, have been condemned by passenger groups.
The new tariffs, which came into effect on Friday last week, mean that a day single ticket from Fleet to Waterloo has gone up 6.3% from £12.70 to £13.50.
Commuters will pay £25.70 for a day return, which is up from £24.20, a rise of 6.2%.
A seven-day ticket has increased from £72.30 to £75.60 (4.5%) and an annual season ticket from £2,892 to £3,024 (4.56%).
A day single ticket from Farnborough to Waterloo will now cost £13.20 instead of £12.40.
A day return has risen from £23.40 to £24.80 (up 5.98%), a seven-day ticket from £71.20 to £74.50 (4.63%) and an annual season ticket from £2,848 to £2,980 (4.63%).
Aldershot rail travellers have also been hit.
A single to Waterloo has gone up from £11.50 to £12.20 (up 6.09%), a day return from £21.70 to £23 (5.99%), a weekly ticket from £70.50 to £73.50 (4.26%) and an annual season ticket from £2,820 to £2,940 (4.26%).
Camberley commuters have not been hit so hard, with annual season tickets going up just 2.13% from £2,820 to £2,880 and weekly tickets from £70.50 to £72.
However, a day single will now cost £12.20 instead of £11.50 whereas a day return trip is up 6.1% from £21.30 to £22.60.
The rises have come under fire from the Alton Line Users Association (ALUA), which serves rail travellers in Ash Vale, Aldershot and Farnham.
Chairman Chris Campbell said: “We are very concerned, especially as the service is the slowest in 50 years.
“The rise is above the rate of inflation and will be for the next few years, so we are told.
“The only way to save now is to book a ticket two to three months in advance.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent rail consumer watchdog Passenger Focus, has also attacked the rises.
He said: “What makes them particularly unpalatable is the fact that inflation is currently about 3%.
“Here we have rises that are on average 6% or 7%, and in some cases 10%.
“Rail fares have got completely out of kilter with what is happening in the real economy and people are going to have dig very deep to find the extra money.”
The increases have also come under fire from Gerry Doherty, leader of the transport union TSSA.
He said: “This makes a mockery of the government’s pledge to help hard-working families through the recession.
“Ministers should have cancelled this annual inflation-plus increase if they were serious in helping people just get to work, let alone keep their jobs.
“If every other business is cutting prices, why should the rail companies be allowed to get away with daylight robbery?”
The Association of Train Operating Companies, which announced the increases, said the rises will help pay for major investment in the network and extra services.
Chief executive Michael Roberts added: “Travelling by rail is still considerably less expensive than by car, even allowing for falling petrol prices - and journey times are usually quicker too.”