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'ToffsRus' rail fare protests attack Cameron and Osborne

Rail campaigners from the transport union TSSA demonstrate outside St Pancras station Credit: A rail campaigner demonstrates outside King's Cross station

Highlighting the fact that Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne are Old Etonians, transport union TSSA's protest at King's Cross featured a top hat-wearing "ToffsRUs" band.

A rail campaigner demonstrates outside King's Cross station in London as regulated fares Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Waiting for trains at King's Cross station in London today, passengers expressed their anger at the rise.

Outside the station, shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle joined the protest against the high fares.

Maria Eagle joins TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes and other rail campaigners from the transport union as they demonstrate Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Some commuters appeared to agree with the protests.

Leeds-bound hairdresser Gavin Lambert, 45, described his service as "rarely on time and often overcrowded", while his friend Kevin Gowland, 46, a musician, said people were taking to the roads as the rail service was "so bad".

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Transport Minister: Rail fare structure is 'not ideal'

Transport Minister Norman Baker told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the current fare structure was "not ideal", adding that the Government wanted to end above-inflation fare rises as soon as possible:

Forty per cent of fares, roughly, are regulated by the Government and that's a longstanding policy successive governments have had. The other 60% are unregulated and decided by the train companies themselves.

The balance of regulation and which fares are regulated is part of the fares and ticketing review we are now engaged upon.

It's not ideal - there are over 100,000 rail tickets and different prices each year to deal with. It's a hugely complicated issue.So it's important we try to get the best value for the passenger, the best value for the taxpayer and the simplest, (most) transparent system we can, given the need to ensure rail companies can price appropriately to attract people on to off-peak trains which might otherwise be running empty.

'No improvements in services' despite fare increases

The 10th above-inflation increase in a row led a campaign group to claim that the increases come at a time of "no perceptible improvement in services."

Last week Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson said: "Yet again, rail fares go up with no perceptible improvement in service.

"Over the last 10 years, fares have increased by more than 50% - much more than people's incomes."

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Cameron 'misled commuters with fare rise cap'

David Cameron misled commuters when he promised to cap fare rises at 1% above inflation.

Many commuters have faced a nasty New Year shock as they discover fares have gone up by as much as 9.2%.

The Government should come clean with commuters that this is a direct result of their decision to cave in to pressure from the private train companies to let them hike ticket prices beyond the so-called cap.

– Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle

Government defends rail fare hikes

Family budgets are being squeezed, so that is why this coalition Government has taken proactive steps to cut the planned fare rises from 3% to 1% above inflation until 2014.

We are engaged in the biggest rail investment programme since the 19th century and it is only right that the passenger, as well as the taxpayer, contributes towards that.

In the longer term we are determined to reduce the cost of running the railways so that we can end the era of above-inflation fare rises.

– Transport Minister Norman Baker

Government 'to blame for rail fare hikes'

We understand commuters don't like to pay more to travel to work but it is the Government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year.

Successive governments have required train companies to increase the average price of season tickets every January since 2004 by more than inflation.

Ministers want passengers to pay a larger share of railway running costs to reduce the contribution from taxpayers while sustaining investment in better stations, new trains and faster services.

– Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies
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