Commuters feel pinch from rail fare rises

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THE RAIL industry faces fresh calls for a fare freeze as a new report claims workers are spending up to a seventh of their wages on travelling.

Commuters will feel the impact of average New Year fare rises of 2.3 per cent as they return to work today.

The Action for Rail campaign said workers would spend 14 per cent of their income on a monthly season ticket in some parts of the country following the increases which include a 4.9 per cent rise on Virgin East Coast services which connect Yorkshire stations to London.

Baroness Jenny Randerson, transport spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “With passengers suffering a poor service on their return to work it is only right that they are given a fare freeze until there is significant improvement.”

Labour MPs will today stage protests over fare rises at several Yorkshire stations.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell said: “Train ticket prices are still rising three-times faster than the growth in wages. Since 2010 we have seen a 27 per centincrease in ticket price, the season ticket price for York to Leeds is now at £2,232, almost £500 more than in 2010.”

The Government has promised regulated train fares will only rise in line with inflation until 2020 but there is no similar cap on unregulated fares.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for more than a century, providing more seats and services. We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger.”

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