Rail passengers catching trains from Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough are to be hit by inflation-busting fare increases in the new year.
East Midlands Trains has announced that fares are to rise by an average of four per cent from January 2, with the cost of a single journey increasing by an average of 52 pence.
The latest fare hike comes on the back of last year’s above-inflation rise of 5.7 per cent and 2010’s 5.6 per cent increase.
Chris Groome, spokesman for Kettering Rail Users, said: “This increase comes at a time when passengers are also facing increased costs in other areas, like car parking at railway stations.
“People may find it difficult to come up with this extra money, especially in the cases of many who have seen their wages frozen or even reduced.”
Mr Groome said he had no complaints about the reliability of East Midlands Trains services, saying they were one of the most punctual firms in the country, but he thought some aspects of the timetable needed to be looked into.
He added: “At the moment passengers arriving into Kettering from Corby who want to travel to Leicester or the north have to wait about an hour for their connecting train as the train from Corby arrives roughly when the train to Leicester is leaving.
“East Midlands Trains also reduced the number of services travelling north which means there is less choice for passengers.
“Overall, I would say the service is reliable, but there is only so much that passengers can take in terms of cost.”
A spokesman for East Midlands Trains said fare rises are “determined largely” by Government policy.
David Horne, the firm’s managing director, said: “Railway funding can only come from the taxpayer or from the passenger. The Government’s policy is that a bigger share must come from train users.
“We know that nobody likes paying more for their travel, especially to get to work. That’s why we are working hard with the rest of the rail industry to make the system more cost-efficient and help take the pressure off future fare rises.”
Campaigners from the TUC’s Action for Rail group handed out leaflets opposed to the latest fare increase at a number of stations across the East Midlands on Tuesday morning.
The TUC said rail fares have risen about three times more than the national average wage since 2008.
The new ticket prices can be found at www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk.
Kettering to london st pancras Off-peak single – Currently £41, will rise to £43.50.
Anytime single – £57 to £59.50.
Off-peak return – £41.50 to £44.
Corby to london
Off-peak single - £42 to £44.50.
Anytime single - £60 to £62.50.
Off-peak return - £42.50 to £45.
Wellingborough to london
Off-peak single - £40 to £42.
Anytime single - £53 to £55.
Off-peak return - £40.50 to £42.50