Campaigners rage as rail fares increase

(Left to right), Peter Shelley of Hampshire County Council, Mayor of Havant Councillor Elaine Shimbart, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Ken Ellcome, and Edward Hodgson of Stagecoach. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (171226-1)

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TRANSPORT campaigners have labelled the annual rise in rail fares as ‘another kick in the teeth’ for passengers.

The average increase across Britain of 2.3 per cent came into force this morning, although the figure varies between operators, with fares on Virgin Trains East Coast services up by 4.9 per cent.

On Southern it is 1.8 per cent, while South West Trains passengers face a 1.5 per cent hike.

The overall rise is the highest since January 2014, when fares increased by 2.8 per cent.

Lianna Etkind, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘Today’s fare rises are another kick in the teeth for long-suffering rail passengers.

‘Many experienced a less frequent and more overcrowded service last year, and now they are required to pay more for the same this year.

‘The whole fares system is completely unfair and it’s high time the government overhauled it.’

Bruce Williamson, of independent campaign group Railfuture, said: ‘With the chaos on Southern, lacklustre performance in Scotland and stalled electrification on the Great Western main line, passengers are going to wonder what they are getting for their increased ticket price.’