‘We may hit Norwich in £90’ - anger after largest rail fare hike in five years is announced

Greater Anglia trains will face disruption over Christmas and New Year (Picture: Sonya Duncan)

Greater Anglia trains will face disruption over Christmas and New Year (Picture: Sonya Duncan) - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Rail passengers in Norfolk and Suffolk are bracing themselves for the largest hike in rail fares in five years.

Lesley Grahame. Picture: Submitted

Lesley Grahame. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

The average price for a ticket is set to go up by 3.4pc on January 2, according to industry body the Rail Delivery Group.

It will be the biggest hike in rail prices since 2013, when fares leaped by 3.9%.

Lesley Grahame, a Green Party councillor who represents the area around Norwich's train station, said: 'I am absolutely dismayed at this announcement. I think we may hit Norwich in £90 long before we hit Norwich in 90 minutes.

'Pay is not going up, but poverty is. We need railways that people can afford and at the moment, so many of the residents I represent would love to travel by train but simply cannot afford the high fares.

'If we look across Europe, at the rail networks in the likes of Germany and France, it is clear that Britain has been left behind and the current system isn't working.'

She said the party had long called for the railways to be put back in public hands, and said commuters and rail users deserved more.

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Peter Hulbert, member of the Mid Anglia Passengers Association, said: 'Why do they keep putting them up? They are already charging extortionate fares. We have the dearest railways in Europe but we don't have the best service.'

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union described the price hike as 'another kick in the teeth' for rail users.

General secretary Mick Cash said: 'For public sector workers and many others in our communities who have had their pay and benefits capped or frozen by this Government, these fare increases are another twist of the economic knife. The private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank.'

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said although its average fare increase was 3.4pc, the firm is freezing its advance fares which can be 60 to 70pc lower than walk-up fares.

She said: 'The 3.4pc increase applies to Government regulated fares, such as season tickets and anytime singles and returns. We need to apply this increase, as many of our costs will also increase in line with inflation. We offer a range of great value off-peak fares such as advance, super off-peak day return, off-peak day return, Duo and Kids for £2 deals, as well as Group Save discounts.'