Train fares and station car park fees on the rise

COMMUTERS in Battle have been hit in the pocket with train fares and station car park fees on the rise.

On January 2, rail tickets on the Southeastern network, which includes Battle, Crowhurst, Robertsbridge and Etchingham stations, went up by an average of 2.8 percent.

And there was further woe for passengers travelling from Battle, with the daily cost of parking in the station car park rising to £4.70 - an increase of 20p.

Speaking about train fares, a spokesperson for Southeastern said: “The government set a 3.1 percent average increase for fares for 2014 - in line with their policy to reduce taxpayer subsidy for the railway.

“However Southeastern fares will increase on average by 2.8 percent which is the lowest increase in many years.

“We appreciate that nobody likes to pay more for their travel, however there are only two sources of funding for the operation of the railway – Government subsidy and the passenger.

“Since 2002 it has been government policy to shift the balance of the cost of running the railway from the taxpayer to the passenger – those who use train services, and therefore the government requires train operators to increase fares each year.

“Nationally, around £24billion will be invested in improving rail services over the next five years. Passengers will see the complete rebuild of London Bridge station as part of the £6.5billion Thameslink Programme and locally in Kent, we will continue to see more investment in stations, track and signalling which will allow us to continue to provide an improved service for our customers.”

On January 6, fees for 42 of Southeastern’s 95 car parks increased by between 10p and 20p per day.

As well as the 20p rise in Battle, the car park at Crowhurst station has gone up by 10p per day to £2.60. Robertsbridge, Etchingham, Hastings, St Leonards Warrior Square and West St Leonards have been frozen for 2014.

A spokesperson for Southeastern said: “We’re mindful of increasing costs for our customers and have frozen more than half of our 95 car parks at 2013 prices, and limited an increase for the remaining of between 10p and 20p per day.

“This is in line with increasing costs associated with providing and maintaining the car parks.”