Commuters will be ‘financially crippled’ by travelling to London

Eastbourne railway station. (Eastbourne Station). Commuters arrive for the morning services. August 21st 2013 E34215P
Eastbourne railway station. (Eastbourne Station). Commuters arrive for the morning services. August 21st 2013 E34215P

Rail commuters in Eastbourne who are being ‘financially crippled’ by the cost of travelling to London fare an increase in ticket prices next year.

With capital-bound commuters from Eastbourne already paying well over £4,300 a year for a season ticket, they are bracing themselves for a 4.1 per cent rise in regulated rail fares in 2014.

It’s not known what the new fares will be since these will be determined by the rail companies in September.

Chris Stanton said, “It’s crippling me financially. I need to earn £6,000 to £7,000 to cover the cost of travel, that’s including tax.”

Darren Hartley said, “I think the same as everyone else - I think they are high enough as they are.

“For what we pay we need service improvements.”

Others got in touch with the Herald by email.

A frustrated Sadie Hodgson said, “I am currently in a year paid internship which pays minimum wage, well over half of my monthly income goes on my train ticket which costs me £480 a month from Polegate to London Bridge.

“I don’t start work till 10am so I always get a seat on the journey to East Croydon but from there to London Bridge I have to stand squashed like a can of sardines. With all my other outgoings I am left with barely any money I have to hold two jobs just to afford my monthly ticket.

“I am not able to work from home as I am currently an intern and need to be in the office at all times. I have no choice in my industry London is the nearest place I can work.

“I don’t believe for one minute that the rises will pay for rail network I honestly don’t know what they do with all the money they gain from the average commuter.

“The amount of people that travel daily they must earn a bomb and I never see any changes to the trains and rail.

“So where is the money going? In the pockets of people that don’t need it. Makes me sick. I paid for four years of education to be stung even more once I finished.”

Another commuter said, “They need to re-organise the rota on the Brighton line because you can’t get on.

“One hour and 30/40 minutes on a fast train sounds okay when it works you can do it but when it doesn’t work it goes pear-shaped.

“We’re an expanding town and I think we deserve to have a more upgraded service on the line.”

But others said they had discounted or split tickets which made the cost cheaper.

Sadie Scott said, “I have a 16-25 rail card but when it runs out it will be extremely expensive.”

Ed McPherson added, “I get a split ticket - I go to Epsom and then from Clapham Junction to London Bridge and that brings the cost down. I think the cost is quite reasonable.”

A rail worker added, “Compared to the price of petrol it’s still cheaper.”

Laura Murphy told the Herald, “I use the train for business and on the whole have found the journeys okay – it’s certainly less stressful than navigating the M25. And depending on how far you’re travelling (and at what time) the train fare can be cheaper than petrol costs.

“It’s still very expensive for commuter times though and you can’t guarantee a seat.”

Ministers have said the rises will pay for investment in the rail network.

The journey between Eastbourne and London was named as one of the worst 10 commutes in the New Statesman. The publication added that the cost of travel from Eastbourne to London has gone up 58 per cent in the last 10 years.

Weekly tickets have gone from £68.00 to £107.60, and annual season tickets from £2,720.00 to £4,304.00.

A spokesperson for Southern said, “The average rise in regulated fares such as season tickets is determined by the Government. It is based on the July rate of RPI and will this year use the formula of RPI plus 1 per cent.

“This formula is taken into account when setting the premium payments which Southern, like most train operators, must pay to the Government.

“These premiums increase every year throughout the franchise and help support investment in the railway.

“Recent areas of investment on Southern have included 170 new carriages, several new stations, the refurbishment of several existing train fleets, major cycle space and car park expansions and large scale improvement works at Brighton, Gatwick Airport and East Croydon.

“There is more flexibility in the setting of unregulated fares, an area where Southern offers heavily discounted Advance and Super off-peak fares.”