Outrage over rail fare rise

Passengers and commuter groups have expressed outrage and disappointment after rail fares rose by an average of 2.8 per cent.

The increase came into effect at the start of January, marking the 11th straight year of above inflation price hikes.

Passengers at Chesterfield Train Station spoke of their anger at the annual rise and beliefs that rail travel offered increasingly poor value for money.

Trainer Christopher Moss, 41, said: “The service hasn’t got better, I’ve not seen any improvements on the trains - it’s remained the same from what I can see.

“If I knew where the money was going then maybe I would be a bit better about it but it just seems the prices are always going up.

“Three per cent is more than inflation, it’s more than our wage rise so it makes a big difference.”

Student Oliver Norris, 16, expressed concern that the increases often hit the more vulnerable members of society hardest.

He said: “It’s tough for people like myself. As I can’t drive, I rely on public transport a lot.

“I probably use the trains three or four times a week and I’ve had to get myself a student railcard just to save myself a bit of money because of the increase in prices.

“Public rail, it is for all the people. It is an excellent way of travelling around but we would prefer it a lot more if it was a bit cheaper.”

Michael Ball, a 55-year-old music teacher, said: “I think the government are after what they can get. Everything seems to be going up and nothing seems to stop level. You don’t see a vast increase in the quality of the services. I’d prefer the government to renationalise the railway lines so that we can keep more control of them and the prices they charge.”

Despite an average rise of 2.8 per cent, price changes across north Derbyshire will vary depending on the route operator. Northern Rail have hiked fares by 2.8 per cent; East Midlands by 2.6 per cent; whilst TransPennine Express have announced that most routes will remain at 2013 prices.

The changes will heap further pressure on commuters who have seen fare rises that far outstrip an increase in wages. An annual season ticket between Chesterfield and Sheffield will now cost £1,072; between Matlock and Derby £1,104; and between Alfreton and Mansfield £2,500.

RMT rail union general secretary Bob Crow said: “Wages are going up by an average of 0.8 per cent yet rail fares are going up by more than three per cent.”