Anger over rail fares rising on the Battle line

31/1/14- Battle Railway Station ENGSUS00120140131122839
31/1/14- Battle Railway Station ENGSUS00120140131122839

Rail operator Southeastern has come under fire for hiking fares in the New Year at the same time that commuters face major disruption due to the closure of London Bridge Station.

MPs from both Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells have slammed the increase which will see the cost of season tickets rise by up to 2.5 percent.

Tonbridge MP Sir John Stanley said: “Where there is major disruption there should be a way of compensating people who have paid huge sums of money for season tickets.

“It is not fair that people using trains to get to work should be at the mercy of rail companies increasing fares.”

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark said: “This is not the time to be increasing rail fares when passengers are being severely disrupted by the works at London Bridge.

“We should be seeing a cut in fares to compensate for the disruption.”

A Southeastern spokesman said: “We recognise the significant impact the £6.5bn government funded Thameslink Programme will have on our passenger’s journeys and so we are using all means available to us to communicate details of alternative travel options and ticketing arrangements.

“The average increase in season ticket fares is regulated by the government as part of its strategy to ensure passengers pay more of the share of running the railways than tax payers.

“These fares help to fund investment in the railway including providing more staff at stations to help passengers with timetable changes, improvements to our passenger information channels and the provision of extra seats to increase capacity during the changes.”

Rail Passengers Council chairman Stewart Francis said: “It’s no real surprise to see fares going up again and many of the increases were common knowledge.

“Having said that, performance has remained so poor on many routes that passengers can see little justification for price rises.”