Rail fares hike for Leighton Buzzard commuters slammed by MEP

Leighton Buzzard Railway Station
Leighton Buzzard Railway Station

Commuters in Leighton Buzzard faced an unwelcome price hike on their return to work after the New Year as their annual season tickets rose in price by another £140.

Bedfordshire MEP Alex Mayer (Labour) has slammed the increase - which works out as 36 per cent since 2010.

She says British rail fares are the most expensive in Europe and the rail companies need to learn from other European railways.

As a result of January’s price hike, Britain’s long-suffering rail commuters will spend up to five times more of their income than their European counterparts, said the Labour politician.

Figures show on average Brits spend 55p per mile travelling by rail.

It costs half that in Ireland at 27p and Belgium at 24p, while German passengers pay just 19p a mile.

In Germany it costs £3,955.92 (4.395 euros) for a BahnCard100 – an annual ticket that covers travel across their entire rail network.

This is £644.08 less than a Biggleswade to London St Pancras season ticket.

Since 2010 British rail fares have risen three times as fast as earnings even though commuter satisfaction has dipped to a 10-year low.

The new year increase will push the price of a Leighton Buzzard to London season ticket to £4600 a year.

Alex Mayer MEP said: “Give commuters a break.

“Surely after the delays, cancellations and overcrowding on the railways last year, the government should not be allowing fares to increase faster than many people’s wages.

“We need to be encouraging people onto trains not putting obstacles in the way.

“It is time to learn from Europe. Startlingly it costs more for the 47 mile commute from Leighton Buzzard to London than it does to travel across the whole German rail network.

“The Government could have used its power to cap regulated fares, instead they have let train companies off the hook and failed to stand up for passengers.

“Labour would bring our railways into public ownership, this would mean capped fairs, more reliable services and more investment. It’s time to put passengers first, not profits.”

MP Andrew Selous (Conservative) has previously contacted train operators asking for improvements to Leighton Buzzard services after constituents complained frequently about short forming trains and cancellations.

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