Burton rail campaigners have joined the wave of protests over the biggest rise to fares for six years with commuters hit by a 3.1 per cent increase.
Secretary of East Staffordshire Trades Union Council William Walker hit out at the rise, saying: “After the festive period commuters are faced with the inevitability of yet another increase in rail fares this time by 3.1 per cent, the highest for a number of years.
“Rail passengers have been hit hard by mismanagement of our rail network and the profiteering by private companies exploiting Britain’s rip-off railways.”
However, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has admitted that he too wished that fares did not have to increase.
Speaking as the price increases were implemented from Wednesday January 2, Mr Grayling told BBC Breakfast: “I wish fares didn’t go up as well.
“The reality is we peg fares to the level of inflation – a higher rate of inflation than I would wish.
“But my question to Labour would be how can you take financial contributions from trade unions who have threatened a national rail strike if we move the rate of inflation on which the whole industry operates?
“They want pay rises that are much higher than [Shadow Transport Secretary] Andy McDonald was talking about.
“They threaten strike action across the country to get those pay rises.”
More railway stories
A seven-day season pass travelling from Burton Railway Station to Derby has increased by roughly 11p for each of the roughly 15 minute-long journey.
If purchased before the New Year, the weekly ticket would have cost £35.70, according to train operator National Rail. This now stands at £36.80.
As the prices rise, a “millennial rail card” has been introduced, offering savings to commuters between the ages of 26 and 30.
It is a digital-only card and is available to buy online now at www.26-30railcard.co.uk.
Owners of the new rail cards will be eligible to get a third off their journeys with the annual price of the cards £30.
A similar scheme is also available for travellers between the ages of 16 and 25.
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