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Commuters' fury over New Year rail fare hike

PUBLISHED: 17:34 07 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 25 August 2010

COMMUTERS have been hit in the pocket by inflation-busting price hikes.

COMMUTERS have been hit in the pocket by inflation-busting price hikes.

Southeastern Railways raised commuter fares by an average of eight per cent on New Year's Day, as interest rates were set to a historic low of two per cent.

Daytime fares will rise by six per cent, however, those commuting to work found the price hikes vary widely from station to station.

An annual ticket into central London from Bexleyheath went up by 11.5 per cent, a rise of £132 to £1,272 a year.

Yet residents travelling in from Dartford, two stops further along the line, must pay £548 more a year.

Dartford prices rose by 8.33 per cent, bringing commuters' annual bill up £140 to £1,820.

Belvedere councillor David Leaf said: "It is deeply unfair that commuters using Belvedere and Bexleyheath have once again been hit with one of the biggest fare increases in London.

"Train fares may jump up by over one-quarter in just two years, but most people's salaries have barely risen by a fraction of that."

Last year fares at Bexleyheath and Belvedere were raised by 13.5 per cent.

However, residents commuting to central

London from Orpington saw fares go up by just 4.9 per cent, bringing their annual fare up by £68 to £1,448. The annual fare from Beckenham Junction will go up by £72 to £1,000 a year, and people commuting from Dartford will be paying £1,820.

A spokesperson for Southeastern said the company was aiming to 'round' the fare prices to make them fairer, whilst the changes would benefit daytime travellers.

She said: "We are working towards a process in 2010 where fares will be the same price across London according to what zones they are from."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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