Rail fares rise

TRAIN passengers will have to dig deeper in their pockets as they face above-inflation price rises on tickets.

From January 2, Southern, which runs trains to London Victoria and Eastbourne, is increasing the cost of season and saver tickets by 4.3 per cent.

Southeastern, which operates services to Battle and London Charing Cross, is increasing its regulated fares by 6.3 per cent.

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Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, a train commuter's watchdog, said: "Inflation-busting price hikes on top of already high fares will make for an unhappy passenger in the new year.

"Levels of crowding now mean there is no room for manoeuvre, people are being priced off the railways entirely as off-peak is also becoming crowded."

Southeastern said its weekly ticket from Hastings to London Charing Cross will rise from 76.50 to 80.30. A monthly ticket will rise from 290.40 to 308.40.

From Battle a weekly season ticket to London will increase from 73.80 to 76.70 and a monthly from 283.40 to 294.60.

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A Southeastern spokesman said: "In the past few years there have been big improvements with better station environments and a much more punctual and reliable service.

"We are committed to delivering even bigger improvements with further upgrades but this requires substantial investment that needs to be paid for."