Union claims commuters from Peterborough are paying heavily for rail privatisation

Peterborough Rail Station EMN-141228-190135009
Peterborough Rail Station EMN-141228-190135009
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Commuters in Peterborough are shouldering the burden of rail privatisation, its has been claimed.

According to figures released by the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) the annual season ticket for commuters from Peterborough to London has risen by 87 per cent to £7,296.

The hike is over the 20 years since rail privatisation took place.

TSSA officials have been staging protests outside some railway stations, including Peterborough, to highlight the issue.

They say that long distance commuters are spending more than £9,000 a year in rail fares and station car parking charges.

The union has published a list of the most expensive season tickets to London.

It is an absolute disgrace the enormous burden that has been heaped on commuters.

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes

It is headed by Swindon at £8,200, up 93 per cent since rail privatisation 20 years ago, Great Yarmouth £7,668, up 56 per cent ad Reading £4,188, up 76 per cent.

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: “It is an absolute disgrace the enormous burden that has been heaped on commuters’ shoulders since the railways were sold off 20 years ago.

“Those on average earnings are paying a third of their salaries just to get to work, the equivalent of funding a £200,000 mortgage every year.

“Season tickets were meant to protected when the railways were sold off.

“But while commuters and their families have suffered a harsh squeeze on their household budgets, with annual tickets doubling in many cases since 1995, the controllers running the private rail firms have seen their own salaries rocketing ahead.

“It is time to stop the annual persecution of commuters who have no alternative to paying these prohibitive and punishing increases.”

He called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to announce a 12-month long rail fares freeze as part of an overall review of private rail franchises if he wins the general election in May.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing Network Rail and operators, said: “Once again the TSSA is being deliberately misleading by focusing on some of the most expensive fares while ignoring cheaper deals and the effects of inflation.

“Overall, the average price of a season ticket is less than £2,500, equivalent to around £5 a journey.

“For the decade to 2013 regulated fares, including season tickets, rose by above inflation as per the policy of successive governments to switch a greater share of rail costs from taxpayers to passengers.

“Passenger numbers have doubled in the last two decades, thanks to better services and discounting on unregulated fares, resulting in the amount of money operators pay back to government to reinvest in the railway increasing fivefold to £2 billion.”

The RDG said the average season ticket holder travels 9,600 miles a year, costing 25p a mile, adding that the distance between Great Yarmouth and London is 137 miles, which averages out at 12p a mile,

The distance between Peterborough and London is 83 miles, which averages out at 18p a mile.

The Rail Delivery Group added that the TSSA was also “ignoring” the effects of inflation, which rose by 72 per cent between 1994 and 2014.

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