Greedy rail companies hold us all hostage

Train A couple of months ago I decided to get on my bike, literally. It was partly to do with fitness but predominantly to do with infuriation at expensive London Underground prices.

I was sick of paying £112 a month for the privilege of being wedged into someone's armpit on the tube, that was invariably running late. And I'm glad I did because the January ticket price hike is upon us again.

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Many commuters have been subjected to a 4.2% hike in prices – way above the 2.7% rate of inflation we're currently suffering. The zone one and two travelcard I was buying every month have gone up to £116, although people commuting into London will be hit far harder.

Some rail companies are considering 'super-peak' fares for the busiest rush hour trains. This is outrageous and has quite rightly been condemned by MPs as a 'commuter tax'.

Super-peak fares is a polite way for rail companies to say they plan to hold commuters, who have no option but to travel at certain times in order to get to work, hostage to higher fares and line their own pockets.

These are pockets I might add that are already helped by £4 billion a year of state subsidies. So, the train companies use taxpayer money to help run their businesses that are more interested in charging Britons, aka taxpayers, more.

Bruce Williamson of campaign group Rail Future, said the people that commute at peak times 'don't do it for fun they do it out of necessity' – which is exactly why the train companies can hike the prices, because they know we need to travel.

Rail workers are very keen to go on strike over the first minor dispute but it seems to me that it's commuters that should be striking.

Surely with rail fares increasing every year it will begin to be unaffordable to travel into work, especially on the busy route from commuter towns into the capital.

I'm sure we can expect more people to be forced into working remotely and reduce what the rail companies call 'demand management', or overcrowding. However, I will bet you that even if 'demand management' was reduced the fares wouldn't decrease.

That's why I'll continue on my own form of strike and use my bicycle to get around the City. Hopefully it will shift a few Christmas pounds from my waist while increasing the pounds in my pocket.
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