Tory rail fares minister Simon Burns has dodged the new year's above-inflation ticket price rises - by travelling to work in a £80,000-a-year chauffeur-driven car.
The Conservative MP shuns commuting by train and instead opts to travel the 35 miles from his Essex home to Westminster using the departmental car service.
today's revelation comes just days after his department waved through inflation-busting average 4.2 per cent rises to regulated fares, including season tickets, for Britain's long-suffering rail users.
Mr Burns defended his regular use of the Department for Transport pool car because he regularly carries classified papers that he works on during his journey.
But a spokesman for passengers' campaign group Railfuture said: "It would be nice if the person who is setting these fare rises was also experiencing some of the congestion and overcrowding endured by ordinary, hard-pressed travellers."
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond revealed details about the department's travel arrangements in parliamentary documents.
"With the introduction of a departmental pool car service on 1 April 2012, individual ministers are no longer allocated government cars. The Secretary of State (Patrick McLoughlin) and Minister of State use the pool cars on a daily basis," he said.
"I use the pool cars occasionally and also use the top-up service as business requires it.
"The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker, used the car on an extremely occasional basis for journeys of less than three miles, the last date being 20 November 2012."
Labour MP Fabian Hamilton uncovered the arrangement through a parliamentary question.
He described it as "extremely poor use of taxpayers' money" and a "very bad example for a minister to set."
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman confirmed that non-classified documents could be taken on public transport.
A DfT spokesman said: "The Minister of State does not have a home in London but uses his commute to work on official papers and so travels in a car provided by the 'government car service' for security reasons.
"The Ministerial Code permits ministers to use official cars for home-to-office journeys within a reasonable distance of London when they are working on classified papers."
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