The UK rail commuters woke up to the biggest annual rise in fares for five years. The latter prompted people to protest against the price increase. RMT rail union strikes took place at many England stations on Tuesday morning, the first day of average fare increases of 3.4%. Many commuters have seen their season tickets go up by as much as £100.
The media reported that questions were raised with Downing Street after neither Transport secretary Chris Grayling or any other Transport official were available on Tuesday morning to defend the rises. Downing Street spokesperson’s comments about Grayling being away to meet politicians and businessmen of Qatar sparked discontent, with Labour later accusing him of being in “hiding”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has frozen transport fare across the capital until 2020 questioned why ticket prices were going up elsewhere referring to it as a scandal. Opposite view was voiced by Paul Plummer, Rail Delivery Group chief executive, who defended the rise saying fare changes would provide cash for better services and investment, including the Thameslink and Great Northern rail upgrades.
In the meantime, angry commuters took it onto the social media with Luke Block from Kent tweeting “First day back to work and a rail fare rise of £237 a year. Happy new year”.