Train station protests planned over largest rail ticket price hike in five years

Passengers on Britain’s railways will face the largest fare rise in five years on the first working day of 2018.
Protests are planned for 40 stations in opposition to an average price hike of 3.4% on Tuesday - the biggest increase since 2013.
Many season tickets have shot up by more than £100, including in Theresa May's constituency of Maidenhead, where an annual pass to London rose by £104 to £3,092.
Other commuter routes that are now more expensive include Liverpool to Manchester (up £108 to £3,152), Neath to Cardiff (up £56 to £1,708) and Elgin to Inverness (up £100 to £2,904).
Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport accused the Government of choosing to
Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport accused the Government of choosing to Credit: PA
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), accused the Government of choosing to "snub rail passengers" by continuing to raise fares while fuel duty is frozen for a seventh consecutive year.
CBT figures show that average season tickets into London terminals have gone up by £146 this year, compared with £74 last January.
"The extra money that season ticket holders will have to fork out this year is almost as much as drivers will save,” Joseph said.
"That doesn't seem fair to us or the millions of people who commute by train, especially as wages continue to stagnate. What's good enough for motorists should be good enough for rail passengers."
The price hike was determined by the government using last July's Retail Prices Index measure of inflation to determine fares.
Bruce Williamson, of campaign group Railfuture, said "people are being priced out of getting to work" and called for for the Consumer Price Index inflation measure to be used for regulated fare increases.
The CPI is usually lower than the RPI, and is used by the Government to set increases in benefits and pensions.
"If CPI had been used instead of RPI since 2004, then rail fares would be 17% lower, a significant amount of money for season ticket holders who are spending thousands of pounds to get to work,” Williamson said.
"It's no wonder that poor value for money is the number one concern of rail travellers, with British rail fares amongst the most expensive in Europe."
Labour blasted the government on Monday, claiming that commuters are paying almost £700 more a year for season tickets than when the Tories came to power.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said fares had risen three times faster than wages during the period.
"The Tories' failure on our railways means passengers have faced truly staggering fare rises of over £2,500 since 2010, with fares having increased three times as much as wages," McDonald said.
"Commuters have repeatedly been told that higher fares are necessary to fund investment, but promised investment has been cancelled and essential works have been delayed by years.
"Decisions taken by government ministers are making rail travel unaffordable for the many in favour of huge profits for the few.
"The truth is that our fragmented, privatised railway drives up costs and leaves passengers paying more for less.
"The railways need serious reform that could be achieved if the Tories matched Labour's manifesto policy to extend public ownership to passenger services, but instead ministers are persisting with a failed model of privatisation that is punishing passengers."
Transport union leaders Manuel Cortes (left) and Steve Hedley (second left) join Labour politicians Emily Thornberry and Andy McDonald (right) outside King's Cross Station in London over the annual rise in rail fares.
Transport union leaders Manuel Cortes (left) and Steve Hedley (second left) join Labour politicians Emily Thornberry and Andy McDonald (right) outside King's Cross Station in London over the annual rise in rail fares. Credit: PA
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian times to improve services for passengers - providing faster and better, more comfortable trains with extra seats.
"This includes the first trains running through London on the Crossrail project, an entirely new Thameslink rail service and continuing work on the transformative Great North Rail Project.
"We keep fare prices under constant review and the price rises for this year are capped in line with inflation, with 97p out of every £1 paid going back into the railway."