Rail fare hike branded a 'kick in the teeth' for commuters

James Harrison

Increases to rail fares have been branded a ‘kick in the teeth’ for commuters.

The Government’s Rail Delivery Group confirmed last week that ticket prices are due to go up by an average of 2.3 per cent nationally from Monday, January 2.

The price hike is more than double the 1.1 per cent increase last year and the biggest rise since those announced in 2013.

For those travelling with Great Western Railway (GWR) from Maidenhead to Paddington it will mean the cost of an anytime day return goes from £21.50 to £21.90, up by 1.86 per cent.

However, if a travel card for London Zones 1-6 is added, an essential for many commuters, it becomes an increase of 2.9 per cent, from £27.60 to £28.40.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), said: “This latest fares hike is another kick in the teeth for British passengers and condemns them to continue to pay some of the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed out and unreliable trains.

“Once again the rip-off private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank as they whack up fares and axe staff in an all-out dash to maximise their profits.

“This culture of private greed on Britain’s railways has to stop and RMT will step up the fight for a publicly-owned railway where services and safety are the priority, not corporate profits.”

Regular commuters seem to have been spared the worst, with season tickets between Maidenhead and Paddington going up by just 1.77 per cent.

The cost of a seven-day card is set to go from £73.40 to £74.70; a month from £281.90 to £286.90 and a year from £2,936.00 to £2,988.00.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “The money raised by Government through fares ensures investment in more trains, better stations and faster services.

“This investment is already delivering new trains in London and the Thames Valley; and we will see the first of our new Intercity Express Trains in passenger service next year – which will deliver more seats, more frequent services, and quicker journeys.”

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