Railing against fare hikes

In these recessionary times, every penny counts.but that doesn’t stop Government and the rail operators from once again demanding more for less when setting their latest fare increases.

Common sense has prevailed at Eurostar, with their European service remaining unchanged at £59 since 2003. But elsewhere the Government seems perfectly happy to hit struggling commuters in the wallet to shore up their own shortfalls.

The deal for most season ticket holders appears to have been that their fare hikes were limited to one percent above inflation, which at the moment stands around one percent. The rail companies seem to be working on last July’s figure of five percent though, as the average fare increase seems set at around six percent – that’s six times current inflation.

And just when you thought your jaw couldn’t drop any further, in Kent you’ll be paying even more – possibly between seven and eight percent rise – because we get the honour of contributing towards the new high speed domestic service. Yes, this is the one that in rush hour will only provide two services an hour.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a disgrace. From Tunbridge Wells to London, the trains are scruffy and smelly and standing during rush hour seems the norm. At present the peak return fare for the hour long journey (interestingly not a lot less than it would take me to drive into London anyway) is just under £28. To increase this further, particularly in the current climate, is cynical in the extreme.

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