Rail passengers travelling on the first working day of 2018 are not happy.
Why, you ask? Because as well as being hit by the largest fare rise in five years, their trains have also turned up late.
Some were even cancelled.
Taking to Twitter, angry commuters fired complaints at networks including Greater Anglia and Southeastern – two of the companies with the sharpest increases.
One traveller asked: ‘What are we paying for?’
Another added: ‘First Greater Anglia commute of 2018 (when the rail fares go up) and surprise surprise, the train in late.’
You know it’s gonna be a smooth coming back to work when South Western Railways increase the price of your monthly ticket and at the same time your very first train of the year has been cancelled. Thanks @SW_Help, happy new year to you too!
— Namer Merli (@AmetDj) January 2, 2018
Train price hikes and all my early trains cancelled, but it's fine because the prices mean we get better quality.
— Freddie (@freddiebender15) January 2, 2018
@LNRailway Great start to the New Year guys. Cancelled train + price hike = same old service…but new name.
— Tim Bond (@bigtimbond) January 2, 2018
@GWRHelp first train of 2018 cancelled, coinciding with a 3.6% increase in price. Good start.
— AB (@Tri_Bennett) January 2, 2018
Average ticket prices across Britain went up by 3.4% today and sparked protests outside around 40 stations to mark the biggest increase since 2013.
Commuter David Hayward contacted Network Rail over Twitter questioning the hefty rise in prices.
He said: ‘Network Rail understands we are exasperated but charges us more anyway.
‘This acts like a tax. I commute on a train because I have no viable alternative.
‘Punished and lied to for twenty years now.’
Another commuter condemned Great Western Railway, saying: ‘Back to work in the rain today, “enjoying” rail fare hikes and a cancelled train already courtesy of GWR’.
First day of ticket price rise, first train cancelled before 9am
— Jamie Lakey (@lakeyj18) January 2, 2018
@SW_Help day 1 of your rip off price hike. 1st train (6am Winnersh – Reading) cancelled.
Words can't express how much I hate you #RailRipOff
— al (@alster100) January 2, 2018
One wished Southwest Railways a ‘Happy New Year’ after their first train was cancelled.
He said: ‘You know it’s gonna be a smooth coming back to work when South Western Railways increase the price of your monthly ticket and at the same time your very first train of the year has been cancelled.
‘Happy new year to you too!’
Another used sarcasm to ease the anger. He said: ‘Train price hikes and all my early trains cancelled, but it’s fine because the prices mean we get better quality.’
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators, spoke out ahead of th rise this week.
He said that ‘nobody wants to see fares going up’ but insisted the increase is necessary to improve the network.
Mr Plummer added: ‘All we can do is make sure we invest to improve as fast as we possibly can.
Here is what the price hike means for customers:
‘We’ve had decades of under-investment which we are now addressing and have been consistently over the last few years, but it takes time.
‘We need that money from fares to be able to afford that investment.’
Many season tickets have gone up by more than £100, including in Prime Minister Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead, where an annual pass to London rose by £104 to £3,092.
Other commuter routes that are now more expensive include Liverpool to Manchester (up £108 to £3,152), Neath to Cardiff (up £56 to £1,708) and Elgin to Inverness (up £100 to £2,904).
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), accused the Government of choosing to ‘snub rail passengers’ by continuing to increase fares while fuel duty is frozen for a seventh consecutive year.
CBT figures show that average season tickets into London terminals have gone up by £146 this year, compared with £74 last January.
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