COMMUTERS using railway stations in Huntingdon and St Neots have been hit with a second increase in parking fees this year. Peak-time fees have increased by 90p a day at St Neots station – the fee is now a substantial £6.30 – and by £1 a day in Huntingdo
COMMUTERS using railway stations in Huntingdon and St Neots have been hit with a second increase in parking fees this year.
Peak-time fees have increased by 90p a day at St Neots station - the fee is now a substantial £6.30 - and by £1 a day in Huntingdon to £5.80 a day.
The increase means it now costs nearly £1,000 a year to park at St Neots railway station - £998 for a season ticket - and £869 at Huntingdon.
The increases at the stations, which are operated by First Capital Connect (FCC), follow the car parks being accredited with the Park Mark Award - an award that recognises increased security.
However, a passenger group says most motorists will not notice the difference and commuters are simply being hit with more expense on top of high fuel prices and train fares.
Nick Dibben, spokesman for Rail Future, told The Hunts Post: "The price rises are not reasonable, there has been no increase in parking provision or quality that the customer will be aware of. Does the customer notice any improvement? I don't think they do."
Mr Dibben, an electrical engineer who lives in St Ives and works in London, said he saves £300 a year by taking the bus to Huntingdon station.
His annual bus ticket, an add-on to his rail ticket, costs him £450 a year.
He said: "More people would use the buses if they put on a better service. The bus lane on the ring road has made the journey quicker in the evening but there are no more buses."
Mr Dibben said additional bus services meeting the evening services arriving from London - the 7.30pm train for example - would provide commuters with a real alternative to cars.
He also would like to see some off-peak morning services taking passengers to the railway station rather than terminating at the bus station.
A spokesman for FCC said the daily parking fee at St Neots had been £5.40 in 2007 and had risen to £5.50 in January. From May 18, it increased again to £6.30. The daily parking fee in Huntingdon had been £4.80 last year and risen to £5.20 in January and was now £5.80.
The spokesman said: "St Neots and Huntingdon have both been accredited with the Park Mark Award, a scheme run by the British Transport Police and the Department for Transport. It recognises best practice in car park security including CCTV and help points.
"These help points and CCTV at car parks and stations are connected to a central control centre that is manned 24 hours a day. As a result, vehicle crime has been significantly reduced at both stations."
He added: "We have made it more flexible to pay. At St Neots and Huntingdon you can Park and Pay by Phone - pay for your parking by text or mobile phone call.