Winter misery for Brentwood commuters

COMMUTERS have reacted with anger to the announcement that they will be hit by “inflation busting” fare increases despite the tough times faced by many people.

Rail users travelling from Shenfield and Brentwood to London face a 5.9 per cent fare hike from January, train operator National Express has revealed.

It will mean an annual season ticket from Brentwood to Liverpool Street will rise by around �125 to more than �2,253. A monthly ticket will rise to �216.50 from �204.

Beleagured service users have also been warned that overcrowding will get worse over the next four years despite National Express East Anglia adding 4,000 more peak-time seats from next month.

Adrian Wyatt, 37, a father-of-two who travels to the City each day, said: “It’s outrageous. Everything is going up and the government is making cuts. No-one is getting pay rises, lots of people are losing their jobs.

“I’m going to lose �135 in child benefit in 2012. And then you get these inflation busting rises on the trains, it’s ridiculous.”

A National Express spokesman said: “These increases reflect government policy in helping to sustain continued investment in the railways.”

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The increase falls slightly below the national average, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), which is around 6.2 per cent.

Atoc chief executive Michael Roberts said: “We know times are tough for many people but next year’s fare increases will ensure that Britain can continue investing in its railways.”

Rail bosses claim they are facing cuts to subsidies as the coalition government steers more funding away from the taxpayer and back to rail users themselves.

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