Rail passengers warned of fees rise

Rail ticketRail passengers have been warned they face a "double whammy" of higher fares and increased car parking charges at stations in the new year.

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) said a number of rail operators will raise the cost of parking at stations following next week's announcement of how much more commuters and other travellers will have to pay to use trains.
Rail fares will rise by an average of 6%, but the TSSA said people who have to drive to stations will also be hit by increased parking charges next month, which it predicted would be around 5%.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: "This is blatant profiteering by the private train operators who are simply exploiting an audience who cannot walk away from their service.

"We hear a lot about the squeezed middle - well these companies are now squeezing until the pips squeak. Finding the cash to pay for expensive season tickets which are going up by 6% is hard enough. Now to mug them again on parking, when an annual car parking ticket can cost more than £1,000 in the South East, is outrageous."

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "Train companies are still re-setting fares because the UK Government announced on 29 November that regulated fares will rise in January by an average of inflation plus 1% (6%). This is lower than the increase of RPI plus 3% that the Government had originally planned for 2012.

"This change means that as well as information on 2012 fares, information on changes to car parking charges next year will also be made available later than usual.

"Charges set by train companies are similar to those in town centre car parks. Many of the UK's stations don't charge for car parking at all and many car parks have discounted prices at quieter times of the day.

"Across the country millions of pounds are being invested in station car parks to add extra spaces and to make car parks safe and secure for passengers. Train companies focus a huge amount of effort on helping passengers get to and from stations as quickly and easily as possible."

© 2011 Press Association
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