�6,000 season tickets a ‘big hit’ on rail commuters from Huntingdon and St Neots

RAIL commuters from St Neots and Huntingdon stations could have to pay �6,000 for season tickets to the capital next year, it was revealed today (Tuesday).

The announcement comes after the retail prices index (RPI) figure for July, which is used to regulate the increase in rail fares in January 2013, rose to 3.2 per cent. The average fare increase allowed is calculated by adding 3 per cent to the RPI, which means the average tickets fare could increase by 6.2 per cent in the new year.

The anticipated rise would see annual peak time tickets to London, including Travelcard zones 1-6, from Huntingdon increase to �6,010.92 from �5,660, and the same ticket from St Neots rise to �5,807 from �5,468.

The final announcement on fairs will be made by First Capital Connect in December.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly said that the potential increase would be “a big hit on commuters”.

“On hearing those figures I can certainly understand why people are so concerned,” he added. “First Capital Connect will have to justify any increase and set out the improvements they want to make before confirming future ticket prices.”

The Government changed the ticket pricing rules for train operators eight years ago, allowing them to increase fares up to 3 per cent above inflation (it was 1 per cent) in order to pass the burden of line improvements to rail users and commit taxpayer’s money to long-term projects, such as High Speed 2 between London and the West Midlands.

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One investment at Huntingdon Railway Station was the new lifts, installed four weeks ago but already out of service.

The lift was installed on July 16 to give disabled access to both platforms but during a routine inspection on Monday an engineer found a broken isolator switch.

A spokesman for First Capital Connect, which runs the station, said yesterday (Tuesday): “As with any new thing, it suffered teething issues. An engineer found a broken switch in an inspection and because the lift needs to be in service 24/7, we had to shut it down as we didn’t want anybody to get stuck inside.

“The new part will be installed as soon as it arrives and the lift should be back in order by Wednesday (tomorrow).”