Fare increases - again - for rail passengers in Havering and Brentwood

Thousands of Havering and Brentwood rail commuters will once again see above inflation increases on their rail fares after new rises come into effect in January.

Thousands of Havering and Brentwood rail commuters will once again see above inflation increases on their season tickets after new rises come into effect in January.

The government is allowing train firms to raise regulated fares by 3pc more than RPI inflation from January, based on July’s inflation figure, which was published on Tuesday.

Rail unions have warned that some fares could jump by 11pc from the New Year, while most rush-hour travel, season tickets and off-peak fares will rise by well above the rate of inflation.

Richard Enever, rail officer at the Brentwood Bus and Rail Users’ Association, said: “The fare increases being introduced are sheer daylight robbery.

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“Services haven’t improved - people who travel on the weekend are paying for a rail replacement bus. I don’t think these fare increases are acceptable.”

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas, said: “I’m not sure that this Tory-led Government fully understand the impact that this is going to have on already hard-pressed families in my constituency, who are struggling to make ends meet as it is. These price rises are nothing short of scandalous.”

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Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), said that train companies were bound rules the government set down.

He said: “The government decides the average increase of commuter ticket prices and other regulated fares which train companies will be required to introduce in January 2013.

“It has been government policy during the past eight years for passengers to pay a larger share of the cost of operating the railways and to focus taxpayers’ money on investing in longer term improvements to the network.

“Any flexibility train companies have within the rules is to maximise revenue for the government.”

But rail minister Theresa Villiers said: “We are determined to drive down the cost of running the railways so we can put an end to above inflation fare increases in the future.

“Our reforms aim to deliver �3.5 billion in efficiency savings while continuing to expand services.

“The railways have performed exceptionally well during the Games, but there is still more to be done.

She added: “The government will spend �18 billion in this Spending Review period to deliver a massive programme of rail improvements to tackle crowding and improve services for passengers.

“Rail fares are helping to deliver this at a time when taxpayer funds are limited by the pressing need to tackle the deficit.”

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