Commuters hit by another season ticket price increase

Bexhill Station
Bexhill Station

Rail season tickets to London – including tube travel – will now cost commuters an eye-watering £5,344 a year.

Train operator Southern has angered passengers by announcing a New Year price increase across all services – meaning anyone commuting from the south coast has to find extra money to make the journey to and from work.

The £5,344 fee is for a 12-month ticket taking in London transport zones one to six and any route between Bexhill and the capital.

A cheaper ticket, restricting passengers to travelling via Haywards Heath, is available for £5,144 a year.

Commuters not needing tube or bus travel upon arrival in London can pay £4,432 to travel between Bexhill and London terminals (via Haywards Heath) or £4,696 via any route. Further tickets, which include the option of travelling on SouthEastern Highspeed trains through Kent cost £6,584 for tube travel, or £5,944 without zones one to six included.

Passenger groups have spoken out against price increases but Southern has defended its ticket hike – arguing its 2014 pricing strategy actually undercuts the increases allowed by government.

A spokesman for the firm explained Southern commuters face an average fare rise of 2.87 per cent – with Gatwick Express prices frozen.

That increase is less than the government capped 3.1per cent which, if added to a sanctioned 2per cent so called flex increase, could have seen ticket prices rise by 5.1per cent.

They told the Observer: “Regulated fares, including season tickets, are capped by the Government.

“The cap this year was due to be the July rate of RPI (3.1 per cent + 1 per cent). However, in the chancellor’s statement the cap was reduced to 3.1 per cent.

“Train operators are permitted to apply a ‘flex’ of 2 per cent over and above 3.1 per cent on individual regulated fares. However, Southern has chosen not to apply this flex to season tickets, meaning that all our season ticket holders will pay a lower than inflation increase.”

Southern’s new fares came into effect on January 2.