7:50am Thursday 15th August 2013
HALESOWEN and Sandwell rail commuters are facing eye-watering price hikes over the next two years.
The Government this week sanctioned rail companies, including London Midland, to increase fares by 4.1 per cent which could see some season tickets prices rocket by £80.
A season ticket next year from Rowley Regis to Birmingham Moor Street is set to rise from £650 to £678, an increase of £122 since 2010 and from Cradley Heath commuters will have to pay £738, a rise of £30 in a year and £133 over four years.
Stephanie Peacock, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, is leading a local campaign against the price rises.
She said: “Lots of people wanted to sign our petition against unfair ticket rises, they are angry at yet more increases set to hit local people next year.
“Local commuters are facing further fare rises after inflation figures were announced this week.
“This Government says rail companies can increase fares by inflation plus one per cent, based on RPI inflation this month of 3.3 per cent that means local people will face rises of up to £80 next year.
“Someone travelling from Rowley Regis to Birmingham will see their ticket go up to nearly £600 a year in 2014 that’s a £108 increase since 2010.
She added: “Local people commuting further afield from Cradley Heath to Warwick will see the biggest rise of £80 next year to nearly £2,000 annually- that’s a massive £360 increase since 2010.
“This tax on travel to work is unfair. At a time when real wages are falling and families are feeling the squeeze with monthly bills, train companies should be helping their loyal customers make ends meet by keeping fares low.”
The chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies Michael Roberts believes higher prices save taxpayers paying for improvements to the rail network.
He said: “Government determines how the average season ticket price rise is set each year. Since 2004, it has been Government policy to allow regulated fares to rise above inflation in order to support investment in more trains, better stations and faster services.
“This is helping to drive passenger satisfaction to near record levels while seeking to reduce taxpayers’ contribution towards the cost of running the railways.”
Centro announced earlier this year Rowley Regis train station will get a £3 million extension which will see an extra 360 car parking spaces at the popular station.
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