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Rail passengers hit with the largest fare rise in five years

Increasing rail fares could force more people into commuting by car, according to the shadow transport secretary.

Campaigners protest against rail fare increases outside King's Cross station in London Credit: PA

The largest fare rise in five years saw average ticket prices go up by 3.4%. Speaking outside King's Cross Station, where a small group of protesters had gathered during the morning rush hour, Labour's Andy McDonald said:

It is already happening, we reached a very high point of 1.7 billion journeys in the UK in recent times - which is wonderful. It is now going the other way, and we are seeing for the first time in many years those numbers starting to reduce, and the take-up of season tickets is now beginning to reduce as well. We are already seeing it, but this is a counterproductive move in terms of generating our economy, increasing that connectivity and seeing the growth we want to see achieved - it is not the right way to go about it.

– Andy McDonald MP, shadow transport secretary
Campaigners protest against rail fare increases outside King's Cross station in London Credit: PA

A Department for Transport spokesman said:

We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian times to improve services for passengers - providing faster and better, more comfortable trains with extra seats.

This includes the first trains running though London on the Crossrail project, an entirely new Thameslink rail service and continuing work on the transformative Great North Rail Project. We keep fare prices under constant review and the price rises for this year are capped in line with inflation, with 97p out of every £1 paid going back into the railway.

– Department for Transport