Kent Rail Fares Rise

New figures show Kent's commuters are set to bear the brunt of the new year rail fare rises.

While many southern England travellers commuting into London will face increases close to the capped national average of 4.2%, commuters from Ramsgate, Dover Priory and Deal will have to contend with paying 6.5% more, taking the annual cost of their season ticket to just below £5,000.

Elsewhere, tickets from Folkestone and Canterbury will increase by just under 6% to around £4,900 and those heading in from Tonbridge will have to fork out £3,796 from January - a 5.2% rise.

Season ticket holders travelling from West Malling in Kent to London will see their fares rise 5.17% to £3,904 in the new year.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets and which account for around 40% of all fares, are set to rise by an average of 4.2% from January 2.

The rises could have been steeper but for an intervention by the Government to limit the regulated fare rise to RPI inflation (as of July) plus 1%, rather than the planned RPI plus 3% increase.

Train companies have the flexibility to raise some season tickets above the 4.2% ceiling as long as the average increase on their trains is no more than 4.2%.

Passenger Focus said it appeared that train companies were exercising restraint but added that the price rises will still feel steep in some places.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Passengers will feel this pain.

"After years of above-inflation fare rises, fresh increases are piling pressure on already high fares. The Government and the rail industry must now work together to deliver on the welcome promise to get fare rises in line with inflation.''

Statement from South Eastern

"It is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year. This year the government announced the average increase would be RPI plus 1% (4.2%).

'Successive governments have instructed train companies every year to increase these regulated fares on average by more than inflation.   In doing so, ministers have been seeking to cut the contribution from taxpayers towards the running costs of the railway and increase the share that comes from passengers.

'The average increase in our fares is 4.2 percent in line with the government formula and the vast majority of our stations will see an increase to this effect."