Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 17:34 UK

Union slams rail fares increase

Parkway station
Some off-peak fares and season tickets will increase

Rail passengers in the East Midlands are facing another increase in train fares next month - less than four months after the last rise.

East Midlands Trains (EMT) increased fares by 7% in January, now some fares will rise by another 5% from 17 May.

The company said the increases will affect less than 1 in 10 passengers using East Midlands Trains services.

National Express East Coast has also announced an increase with some advance purchase tickets rising by 11%.

All the rises are on unregulated fares.

This is a real scandal and it must be stopped
Gerry Doherty, TSSA union

Annual rises on regulated fares, which include season tickets, are decided on a formula linked to the retail price index (RPI) inflation level in July of any one year.

Gerry Doherty, leader of the TSSA transport union, said: "This is a real rip-off even by the low standards of the rail companies when it comes to jacking up fares.

"Because they have been told they cannot increase regulated fares next January, they are going ahead and increasing the unregulated fares, off-peak and advance tickets.

"This mean that some off-peak fares and advance tickets will have jumped by more than 16% in just five months. This is a real scandal and it must be stopped.

First Great Western, First Capital Connect and CrossCountry companies are also putting some fares up.

'Benefit' for passengers

A spokeswoman for East Midlands Trains said: "For fares to London and beyond we will be increasing first class off-peak fares and standard class shoulder peak fares by 5%.

"As a business, we are continuing to make investment that will benefit passengers such as new and improved stations and newly refurbished trains."

In a statement, National Express said: "Some advanced purchase fares are changing, but not all of them; some in fact are going down while others will remain the same.

"We have also reintroduced the 10% online discount for advance purchase fares, so if people book on the web they will receive a further discount."

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