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Sevenoaks commuters express their anger at rising railway fares

By Sevenoaks Chronicle  |  Posted: January 12, 2012

CAMPAIGN ON THE TRAIN: Fare Fail campaigners handed out fake tickets Photo by Amy Scaife.

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SEVENOAKS commuters say they have had enough of paying extortionate prices for their train tickets.

The Government's 5.8 per cent fare hikes officially came into force on January 2 – and passengers have reacted with anger.

Although the increase was lower than expected, hundreds of commuters heading into London every weekday are facing increases in the cost of their season tickets.

Investment manager Richard Milton, of Tonbridge Road, told the Chronicle he currently pays £2,810 for his yearly rail pass.

But when he has to renew it in April he expects to have to shell out £2,972.98 – an increase of more than £160.

He said: "It's incredibly frustrating and I can't see where the money is actually going.

"I'm not pleased by the increase at all and I know a lot of other people who are pretty annoyed too."

Amy Dawes, 26, of Borough Green, has just started a temporary job in an administrative role in London – and says that by the time she has paid for her train ticket, she may as well not receive a wage.

She added: "I'd like to move to London but I can't afford to at the minute and won't be able to at this rate."

HR manager Ann Eddens said her daily commute through Sevenoaks costs her a fortune – and now the hike has come in, she fears the total will be too high for her to handle.

Mrs Eddens travels through the town to London from her home in Lamberhurst.

She said: "I'm totally against the fare increase, it's incredibly irritating and I don't think the service provided measures up.

"I buy weekly tickets and over a year it ends up costing me about £4,500.

"I know it would be marginally cheaper if I got an annual season ticket but I don't know how long I'll even be in London."

Meanwhile, a campaign group for fairer travel carried out a peaceful protest aboard the 8.12am train from Sevenoaks to Charing Cross on Thursday.

The FareFail movement handed out fake tickets to passengers and encouraged them to get involved with the protest against unfair prices.

Campaigner Sam Tarry said: "We're paying first-class prices for what is second-hand service."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Revenue from fares is helping to pay for one of the biggest programmes of rail capacity improvements for a hundred years, which will benefit passengers and stimulate economic growth."

A representative from the Association of Train Operating Companies added: "Money raised through fares helps to pay for better services.

"The focus of the whole industry is to keep on reducing the overall cost of running the railways as a way of limiting future fare rises and of providing taxpayers with better value for money."

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