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Wednesday 16th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

Franchises put up tickets by 3.6%, trains packed like sardines

COMMUTERS were still recovering from THREE serious rail incidents in London yesterday when it emerged that train fares will rise by 3.6 per cent next year.

A train was derailed at Waterloo, another hit the buffers at King’s Cross, injuring five passengers, and Holborn Tube station was evacuated due to a fire alert.

Natasha Coello, 36, injured a collarbone when the 5.13am service from Royston to London hit the buffers on platform nine, sending everyone on the train flying.

She said: “We all commute because we want to have more opportunities and better wages in order to pay for the roof over our head, but unfortunately the fares do not even allow you that opportunity due to the cost.”

Ms Coello complained that she was forking out £436.80 a month “to stand all the way.

“How can they justify these rail prices when on some of the route you are having to stand like sardines with so many issues happening on a regular basis?” she asked.

The retail price index of inflation for July — the rate used to d e t e r m i n e next January’s fare rises — was announced as 3.6 per cent. Labour said the average commuter will now be paying £2,888 for their season ticket, £694 more than in 2010.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “The Tories’ failure on our railways means passengers have faced truly staggering fare rises, some of over £2,500, since 2010, with fares having increased twice as much as wages.

“Commuters have repeatedly been told that higher fares are necessary to fund investment, but promised investment has been cancelled and essential works have been delayed for years.”

Labour Party research shows that the price of an annual season ticket from Prime Minister Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency to London has risen by £736 since 2010.

The highest increase was for a Virgin Trains season ticket from Birmingham to London, which now cost a staggering £2,539 more than in 2010.

Rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Passengers packed onto unreliable trains and paying higher fares will be rightly outraged as private train operators coin in yet more cash.

“Public ownership of this essential service is the only solution for Britain’s rail passengers.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of employers’ association the Rail Delivery Group said: “Many major rail industry costs rise directly in line with RPI.”