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Maidenhead commuters hit out at train fare hike

Commuters faced more expensive train travel when the new working year started on Tuesday.

The 3.4 per cent hike on regulated fares, which includes season tickets, is the largest increase in fares for five years.

This is slightly below the 3.6 per cent rate announced by the Government in August, based on Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation.

An annual season ticket from Maidenhead to London Paddington has gone up by £104 to £3,092 while a weekly ticket has risen from £74.70 to £77.30.

A statement from the Trade Union Congress said someone on an average salary in the UK would have to fork out 13 per cent of their pay for a season ticket, based on travelling into London from Chelmsford, Essex.

It contrasts comparable commutes in Europe showing it would cost two per cent of the average salary in France, three per cent in Italy and four per cent in Germany.

As the new fares came into force on Tuesday, commuters posted comments on the Advertiser’s Facebook page.

Shazia Ahmad said: “If this morning’s service is anything to go by, there should have been a reduction.”

A couple of responses were positive, including from Simon Johnstone who said: “Despite this, it is nice that GWR are now running the electric trains west of Maidenhead to Reading and Didcot.”

Advertiser readers also expressed their views on Twitter.

Twitter user @mccartrey said: “I regularly travel Maidenhead to Reading around 8.30am since February 2017.

“My train has [not] been on time on a single occasion since I started. Raising fares is an insult to rail commuters.

“On the flip side, the new electric trains into Paddington are much improved from the diesels.”

Another user, Phil Jackson, simply said: “I nearly s**t myself with anger — you have permission to print that.”

The increase was backed by Royal Borough leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside).

He also took to Twitter on Tuesday to say: “We rightly want world-class trains transport.

“That either comes from grants (general taxation or more unsustainable borrowing) or the ‘fair box’.

“It’s right that the balance falls on the side of the consumer/user as we invest heavily in our infrastructure.”

Cabinet member Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without) replied, ‘Subsidising train fares is massively regressive’.

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