Rail campaigners have described the 2016 1.1 per cent rise in fares as ‘less worse than expected’ and not good news.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced that fares nationally will rise by the smallest amount for six years today (Friday, December 4).
And the train operator for the Hastings to Charing Cross, via Battle, line Southeastern announced its fares will rise by one per cent from January 2.
But Derrick Coffee from Campaign for Better Transport - East Sussex is not convinced.
“While the 1.1% rise in fares is lower than some recent annual rises, we still have the highest rail fares in Europe,” he said.
“This is not ‘good news’ but simply ‘less worse’ than expected.
“In fact, rail fares have risen 25% since 2010 and 45% in the last ten years.
“To follow, we now need a succession of years where fare rises are pegged to make up for the punitive increases of the past and to allow rail to compete with increasingly cheaper motoring costs.”
A spokesman for Southeastern said it offers a number of discounted tickets and special offers to counter fare prices.
RDG chairman Paul Plummer said fares cover most of the railway’s day-to-day running costs, allowing the government to spend more on improving the network.
But Mr Coffee believes there needs to be a substantial overhaul in rail fares and tickets.
“Fares are also confusing: there are over 20 different fares to London available from Hastings – fares need simplifying,” he said.
“Foreign visitors cannot understand the complexities and often pay more than they need, though rail staff do their best to help them through the quagmire.
“There is also a great need for ‘part-time’ season tickets which recognise that there are many part-time workers on low incomes or in home-working situations needing to travel on fewer days in the week.
“This would also help people to get employment in London because increasingly they can’t afford to live there.”
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