Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rail Commuters Protest at New Year Fare Rises

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rail Commuters Protest at New Year Fare Rises

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Beard and Mark Blunden

COMMUTERS today branded the rising cost of rail travel as "disgusting" as fare increases came into effect on the first working day of the New Year.

Some passengers travelling to London face an increase of several hundred pounds for season tickets after prices went up by an average of 3.1 per cent, with some rising by five per cent.

Commuters from Dover and Northampton became reluctant members of the "[pounds sterling]5,000 club" as season tickets broke the [pounds sterling]5,000-a-year barrier for the first time, while Swindon commuters now face an [pounds sterling]8,000 bill.

At a commuters' protest rally at King's Cross station, travellers said wages were failing to keep pace with the rising cost of travel and that they would be forced to make cutbacks elsewhere.

Teacher Simon Jones, 30, who commutes from Wandsworth, said: "Fares are pretty high. My salary has just gone up one per cent, but fares are rising around three per cent. There are delays on practically every day.

"We're not really getting value for money. At Clapham Junction you can hardly get on a train."

At Victoria station, Rachel Yates, 31, a department store buyer in Victoria who commutes from Gillingham, said: "I pay [pounds sterling]3,600 for my annual season ticket and I think the increase is pretty disgusting seeing as we see no improvement in the service.

"The trains are quite cramped and you always have to stand. I make sure I leave 15 minutes extra so I get a seat on the way home. If the fares go up any more I'm going to have to make cutbacks."

Technical analyst Nicola Yandle, 29, from Maidstone, said: "It's my first day back at work after maternity leave. My season ticket is [pounds sterling]3,800, which is about a sixth of my wages. …

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