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FURY AT RAIL CAR PARK PRICE HIKE

PUBLISHED: 15:40 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010

POLITICIANS and passenger groups have slammed a train operator for hiking up parking fees at station car parks. Charges for daily car parking at train stations across the county are set to increase by up to 33 per cent from June 29. The move comes just

POLITICIANS and passenger groups have slammed a train operator for hiking up parking fees at station car parks.

Charges for daily car parking at train stations across the county are set to increase by up to 33 per cent from June 29.

The move comes just months after Southeastern faced heavy criticism from passenger groups and politicians after introducing a substantial fair hike in January.

Charges are set to go up by 60p to £3.80 at Gravesend station, by 60p to £4.90 at Dartford station, by 30p to £3.70 at Meopham, by 40p to £2.90 at Sole Street and by 50p to £3.90 at Swanley.

Adam Holloway, MP for Gravesham, said: "With the earlier 20 per cent increase in rail fares the people who are contributing to the economy are just getting stuffed every time."

Since taking over the running of train services in Kent, in April 2006, Southeastern has received more than £240 million in government subsidies over the last two years and made profits of more than £1 million a month for the first 15 months of operation.

In a survey carried out by consumer watchdog group Passenger Focus only 42 per cent of Sou-theastern passengers said they were satisfied with the car parking service. Tunde Olatunji, spokesperson for Passenger Focus, said: "Increasing car park charges is a soft target, there's no question about it, and as far as I can see there can be no justification for increases which are so much higher than the rate of inflation. Most of the feedback I have got back from passengers has said they are aghast at the amount that the charges are going up."

The company says that around a quarter of its customers use the car parks and that the cost of parking should not be subsidised by the three quarters that do not use the service. It has invested £1 million in car parks last year and say the increases ensure the delivery of a good service.

A spokesperson for Southeastern said: "We realise no increase will ever be popular but car parking is not a cost free activity. Even with the increase we believe that our charges compare favourably with those charged by other train operators, the private sector and local authorities.

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