Peterborough commuters face a hike in prices, hot on the heels of an extended period of cancellations and delays.
Peterborough commuters face an unwelcome 3.2% price hike in rail fares, which will add more than £205 to the cost of an annual season ticket to London next year.
It comes following a ten year record low for commuter satisfaction across the rail network.
Peterborough's Labour MEP Alex Mayer has backed calls for the lower Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to be used to set January rail fare rises.
Britain’s rail commuters will spend up to five times more of their income than their European counterparts as a result of January’s price hike.
Alex Mayer MEP said: "Give commuters a break. Surely after the chaos of the last few months, the Government should not be allowing fares to increase faster than many people's wages.
“This news is yet another smack in the face for hard working commuters who have been hit again and again by eye-watering rail fare rises. We need to be encouraging people onto trains not putting obstacles in the way.
“Especially after the chaos of the last few months, commuters deserve a break. The Government should not be allowing fares to increase faster than many people's wages.”
“In Germany, the cost of a season ticket that lets you board any train anywhere in the country is £3,840 for a year. In Peterborough we expect commuters to pay £2905 more than that just for a 80-mile daily journey into the capital.”
Around 40 per cent of fares will rise by this amount in January, including season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and Anytime tickets around major cities. The price of these fares is controlled by the Government.
It uses the July Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation - announced by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday - to determine the cap on the annual increase. Many long-distance commuters will see the annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100.
Responding to the confirmation of the rail fare increases this morning, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘With passengers already furious at the shocking level of service on Britain’s rip-off privatised railways today’s news is just another kick in the teeth that will come back to haunt both the Tory Government and the train companies alike.
‘Chris Grayling's desperate attempt to try and make front line rail workers pay for his incompetence and the train operators greed has backfired on him just like everything else he touches.
‘If it wasn’t for the profiteering and exploitation that is endemic after more than two decades of rail privatisation we would have enough cash in the pot to invest in staffing and infrastructure and hold down fares at the same time.
‘What will really stick in the throat of the long-suffering British public is the fact that three quarters of our train services are now controlled by overseas operators with the profits from today’s fare rises shipped across the channel to subsidise passengers in Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.
‘Today’s fare rise is just another nail in the coffin of Britain’s rip-off privatised railways. It’s no longer a question of if our rail services are renationalised, it’s a question of when.’
When will fares go up?
Rail fares become more expensive every January. Who decides how much they go up by? Increases in about 40 per cent of fares are regulated by the Government. The rest are decided by train companies.
Which fares are regulated?
Season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and Anytime tickets around major cities.
How does the Government decide what the increase in regulated fares should be?
It uses the July Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.
What about CPI?
In January, the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said RPI has ‘no merit’, adding that ‘virtually everyone recognises’ the alternative Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which is lower.
Who pays for the railways?
It has been the policy of successive governments to reduce the funding of the railways by taxpayers and increase the relative contribution of passengers.
Where does the money go?
The Rail Delivery Group says 98p of every pound spent on train fares is invested back into the railway.
What do passenger groups say?
They claim fare rises are pricing people off the railways because wages are not increasing at the same rate.
What is the Government's response?
It acknowledges that fare increases are ‘unwelcome’ but insists it is ‘not fair to ask people who do not use trains to pay more for those who do’.
Is there any way of avoiding the fare rise?
Savvy commuters renew their season tickets in the days before the annual rise. Passengers can also save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak and booking in advance, although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly by commuters.