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Outrage over train fare hikes

PUBLISHED: 16:39 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 August 2010

COMMUTERS are livid at double-digit price increases imposed by rail bosses. Workers travelling from north Kent and south-east London to the capital are facing wholesale hikes of up to 11.5 percent from January 2009. Under an agreement with the Departmen

COMMUTERS are livid at double-digit price increases imposed by rail bosses.

Workers travelling from north Kent and south-east London to the capital are facing wholesale hikes of up to 11.5 percent from January 2009.

Under an agreement with the Department for Transport (DfT), Southeastern can charge the new fares in a bid to reduce government subsidies.

Commuters from Bexleyheath and Bromley South will pay the highest with an annual ticket into central London increasing by 11.5 per cent, a rise of £132 to £1,272.

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

Those from Greenhithe and Dartford face a 10.8 per cent rise while an annual bill for Gravesend rail users working in the capital will cost an extra £200.

Yet Orpington commuters will see fares go up by just 4.9 per cent, or £68 a year.

Zoe Draper, 32, of Windmill Street, Gravesend, described the proposed price hikes as "totally and utterly outrageous". She said: "I'm dreading how much extra I will have to pay.

"No one is going to get a pay rise, I'm certainly not going to get a Christmas bonus.

"I've been commuting to London for 10 years and about two or three days every week the train gets into Charing Cross late." Southeastern claimed that across the board the average regulated fares will rise by eight per cent whilst unregulated, off peak fares go up by six per cent.

The company will raise fares annually by inflation plus three per cent until 2011, then by inflation plus one per cent until its franchise ends in 2014. For commuters, the price hikes vary widely form station to station.

David Leaf, a councillor for Belvedere, said: "It is deeply unfair that commuters using Belvedere 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."

A spokesperson for Southeastern 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.

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