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Anger As Rail Fares Rise By Up To 10.6%

Sky News reports that regulated rail fares have gone up by an average of 6% - with some commuters facing hikes of almost 11%.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said the increases will help pay for better services.

But passenger groups said they are exorbitant and travellers should not have to keep supporting a "fractured, inefficient industry".

The average rise for all rail tickets - including unregulated fares such as advance and business tickets - is 5.9%.

However, the cost of a Chester-Crewe annual season ticket goes up 10.6%, as does a season ticket for travel between Llandudno and Bangor in Gwynedd.

Some of the Northern train company's West Yorkshire Metro season tickets are also going up well above the national average, with a Leeds to Wakefield season rising 8.09%.

Passengers getting on a train

Campaign groups say passengers are getting a raw deal

Some London commuters will also have to fork out for above-average increases, with a season ticket between Northampton and the capital rising 6.9% to £4,756.

Campaign groups and transport unions have hit out at the rises, which come after Network Rail was warned about poor punctuality on some long-distance routes.

Last week, the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) released figures showing that passengers in Europe can pay up to 10 times less for their annual season tickets.

But the Government, rails firms and London Mayor Boris Johnson have all stressed the hikes are necessary to sustain investment in Tube and main line systems that are attracting more and more passengers.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "Passengers will have to dig deep in their pockets to cover the 6%-and-more fare rises."

He asked: "Why should passengers go on paying for a fractured, inefficient industry?"

Michael Roberts, chief executive of ATOC, insisted: "Money raised through fares helps to pay for better services."

He added: "The focus of the whole industry is to keep on reducing the overall cost of running the railways as a way of limiting future fare rises and providing taxpayers with better value for money."

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