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More rail misery as fares rise by 3.1%
COMMUTERS’ Christmas spirits have been dampened after Essex rail firms announced a 3.1 per cent rise in ticket prices.
The new prices, which will come into effect on Thursday, January 2, will see train users with a yearly season ticket from Southend Central to Fenchurch Street on the c2c line pay £3,236 – £100 more than prices this year.
Travellers from Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street on the Greater Anglia line will pay £3,580 – £128 more than this year’s charge.
The rise is in line with July’s RPI inflation rate.
The national average increase is slightly lower, at 2.8 per cent.
Peter Slattery from the Southend Rail Users’ Association, said: “In recent years fares have risen by 7 or 8 per cent – often double or treble the rate of inflation – so this year’s percentages are more in line with inflation.
“It’s a step in the right direction and good news for passengers.”
However, regular train user, Paul Ilett, 43, says companies should justify the extra costs by explaining what the money will be spent on.
Mr Ilett, of Lovelace Gardens, Southend, said: “If they’re putting up fares by that much they need to demonstrate what train users are getting as a result.
They need to explain the reason behind the increase.
“It is quite surprising when you turn up at the station to buy a ticket and you see the price of it.
“They need to start looking after their customers a bit better and looking at ways to save them money – people are hard up at the moment as it is.”
Lee Boyce, 26, of Oast Way, Rochford, works as a journalist in London, and often commutes using Greater Anglia services.
He said: “Train fares are going up faster than wage growth – there seems to be no let-up for workers. It’s just not good enough, and the service people are getting is not reflected in the cost.
“I think it’s actually got worse, because there always seem to be delays. I’m at the end of my tether anyway and this just adds to it.”
Train company c2c, says customers will see a boost in services for their money – such as the introduction of smartcard, a ticket system consisting of a card containing an electronic chip which allows rail tickets to be stored and read automatically.
A spokesman from c2c said: “We’ve changed all c2c fares in line with the Government’s announcement earlier this month.
“Over the next 12 months, c2c passengers will see major investment in improvements, such as the introduction of smartcard ticketing and the upgrade of Fenchurch Street station.”
A Greater Anglia spokeswoman added: “Annual fare rises help to maintain investment in the railways and are determined largely by government policy, as confirmed in the Autumn Statement.”
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