Rip-off' as rail parking fees rise

Battersea trainPA

A commuter rail firm has been accused of "ripping off" passengers by increasing car parking charges just a week after fares rose.

Southeastern is bringing in a second "backdoor" fare increase on top of last week's 6% rise in rail fares, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association said.
The union said that from Wednesday, daily car parking charges at Kidbrooke in south east London increased from £3.50 to £4.50 - a jump of almost 30% - while other stations were seeing increases of 50p a day.

A spokesman for Southeastern, which runs trains across Kent and other parts of the South East into London, said: "The vast majority of car parks remain unchanged while some have been reduced by as much as £1 a day. A small number have gone up but none more than 50p a day."
But the union said it was "daylight robbery" to increase car parking charges so soon after last week's hike in rail fares.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: "Southeastern are ripping off commuters who are now paying as much as £4,000 a year for their annual season tickets.

"Car parking increases of almost 30% simply cannot be justified when inflation is 5% and wages are only rising by 2%. They are squeezing the squeezed middle until the pips squeak. Rail companies are now treating car parking charges as another revenue stream which they can simply turn on when they want extra cash."

The union said it will be writing to Transport Secretary Justine Greening urging her to intervene.

Southeastern added: "Any increase is also to pay for the continued cost of running the car parks including CCTV, maintenance, rising utility bills and rental costs to Network Rail."

© 2012 Press Association
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