King's Lynn to London season ticket cost 'to top £6k' after inflation announcement
The prospect of another hefty rise in rail fares has been condemned as a "smack in the face" for passengers by a West Norfolk politician.
The cost of regulated fares, such as season tickets for commuters, will go up by 3.2 per cent in January, meaning the price of a basic annual ticket between Lynn and London will go above £6,000 for the first time.
The rise is likely to spark renewed anger among passengers, particularly after the recent disruption caused by the imposition of new and interim timetables.
Labour MEP Alex Mayer 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."
The rate of increase is currently dictated by the retail price index level in July, which was revealed this morning, though there is broad support for the consumer prices index measure, which stood at 2.5 per cent, to be used instead.
The rise will add around £185 to the current £5,828 cost of an annual season ticket for travel between Lynn and London Kings Cross and around £220 to a similar ticket which also provides use of the London Underground.
It will also add around £75 to the cost of an annual ticket between Lynn and Cambridge, which is currently £2,328.
The Rail Delivery Group, the body which represents train operating companies, insists that 98 pence of every pound that is spent on fares is reinvested in the network.
And tax campaigners have argued that calls for fares to be frozen would make services worse rather than better.
James Price, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Instead, the trade union-caused bloated wage bill should be addressed, and hated, pointless and wildly expensive projects like HS2 should be scrapped, freeing up tens of billions for more worthwhile projects in the regions.
But Miss Mayer said: “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."
King's Lynn BID chairman Darren Taylor added: "With the announcement of yet further fare increases, I think it is only reasonable to wonder if we are being taken as mugs up here in King’s Lynn.
"We appear to be no further forward with either an announcement to confirm the introduction of 8 carriage trains or with any sign of progress at all with the Ely North works.
"Yet again I call upon the train operator to make good their promise of bigger trains as soon as possible and at the same time remind both Network Rail and the government that the Ely North improvements are absolutely critical and must be given the highest possible priority."