‘Great train robbery’

Scarborough Railway Station 110624
Scarborough Railway Station 110624

AN INFLATION-BUSTING ticket hike has been branded “disgusting” by railway passengers in Scarborough, on the day the controversial increases were implemented.

Commuters spoke out against the rise after train companies yesterday increased the cost of tickets by as much as 11 per cent.

On average, ticket prices have risen by 5.9 per cent, signalling bad news for commuters, with the majority unlikely to see a comparable rise in their pay packets this year.

One passenger who will definitely feel the pinch is 47-year-old Caroline Wilson. The radio phone operator from Scarborough is moving to Malton. She will commute to work in Scarborough, but she’s worried that the hike will leave her out of pocket.

She said: “I think it’s disgusting, and it’s going to cost me a fortune.

“It doesn’t seem like five minutes since the last time they went up, and it’s such a steep raise.

“I just think it’s appalling, they say they’re trying to get people out of their cars, so you would think they would keep their prices down if anything, but they go and do the opposite.”

And in one case, the price of a train ticket was so expensive it left one passenger stranded.

72-year-old pensioner David Micklethwaite, from County Durham, has spent New Year in Scarborough with family. He had intended to visit York, but upon arriving at the station, the cost of the ticket was so great that he was unable to travel, saying: “I was looking forward to going, but then I realised how much the tickets were and I thought there’s no way I can afford that. It’s just too expensive.”

When the price rise was announced in December, a spokesperson for the Association of Train Operating Companies said the money would be used to fund “new trains, faster services and better stations”.

And 25-year-old Scarborough shop assistant Juliette Ashmead believes investment is desperately needed, saying: “Half the time you get a train you can’t even get a seat or it’s delayed. It’s not on.”

With the new price hike, a 6.29 per cent increase means a ticket from Scarborough to York now costs £18.60, and an additional £2.70 has been put on a ticket to Manchester, which costs £48.20.

A spokesperson for the routes operator First TransPennine Express said the best way to beat the hike is to book tickets early, adding: “Following the Government’s decision to change the fare strategy First TransPennine Express has adjusted its fares for January 2012. The national average increase of 5.9 per cent will see customers benefiting from this change in strategy, whilst also contributing to future investment in the railway.”

However, 66-year-old pensioner Margaret Leyland, from Rotherham, believes passengers will see no benefit whatsoever, saying: “The increase is just too much. People have no jobs, no money, nothing.

“Where do they think people will find this extra money?”