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Anger at rail fare hike
7:00am Friday 16th August 2013 in News
COMMUTERS in Chelmsford have reacted angrily after learning their season ticket prices are set to increase by 4.1 per cent in January.
The Government announced on Tuesday regulated fares will rise by the percentage calculated using July’s Retail Price Index figure of 3.1 per cent plus a further 1 per cent.
Ministers said the extra money will help pay for major investment across the rail network, but train users have poured scorn over the increases.
Protesters from campaign group Action For Rail stood outside Chelmsford railway station calling for fairer prices and the network to be re-nationalised.
Passenger Ian Mascot said: “It’s a joke. My salary doesn’t increase by that much and the service isn’t improving. It’s just more money for the shareholders.”
The move was defended by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin who said although no one likes paying more money for fares the money for improvements must be found somewhere.
He said: “Running the railways is a very expensive business. The taxpayer is contributing a lot and I’m afraid the passenger has to make a contribution.”
Bosses from the Association of Train Operating Companies also stood by the fare increases.
Cchief executive Graham Roberts said: “This is helping to drive passenger satisfaction to near record levels while seeking to reduce taxpayers’ contribution towards the cost of running the railways.
“In order to help limit future fare rises, the rail industry is working with the Government to find ways of providing services even more efficiently, building on the progress that has already been made.”
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