Commuters face rail fare increase

COMMUTERS from Luton train stations could be hit with rail fare increases of up to eight per cent due to high inflation rates.

Regulated fares, such as season tickets, are calculated using formulas based on July’s Retail Price Index (RPI).

The RPI remained unchanged at five per cent yesterday.

And Luton South MP Gavin Shuker yesterday hit out at the level of increases saying that they do not represent value for money for consumers.

He said: “Commuters are getting poor value for money – the service won’t be 8 per cent better this year.

“Families are struggling to make ends meet.

“But the Tory-led government are allowing rail companies to apply an 8 per cent hike on travel. Frankly, that’s a tax on work.”

Fare increases have in recent years been charged at the rate of inflation plus one per cent.

But fares for the next three years will go up by the rate of inflation plus three per cent.

Some figures could also go up by more than eight per cent as rail operators are allowed to increase fares by up to five per cent on top of inflation as long as that figure is balanced out by reductions elsewhere.

Currently a standard season ticket on First Capital Connect trains between Leagrave and London costs £4,232 a year.

Last month, the Luton News revealed how Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins was backing a petition calling for lower rail fares.

Mr Hopkins met local campaigners from the national Fair Fares Now campaign at Luton Train Station.

He was able to speak first hand with customers struggling to pay current costs.