Now Miliband supports the 'squeezed commuter'

 

Train companies should be banned from imposing huge increases to rail fares, Labour said last night as passengers were braced for price hikes of more than 10 per cent in some cases.

From tomorrow, travellers will see an average 6 per cent rise in regulated fares, but train operators have been given free rein by the Government to go further on some journeys.

Ed Miliband and Labour's transport spokeswoman, Maria Eagle, urged the Government to abolish the "flexible" rules, which allow train companies to go beyond the limit for some fares as long as regulated fare rises do not exceed the average overall.

In Labour's last year in power, Lord Adonis, then transport secretary, scrapped the flexible rule and imposed a limit that would have meant fare rises this week being capped at 6 per cent. The coalition reintroduced the flexibility, meaning that some season tickets will go up this week by as much as 10.6 per cent.

Mr Miliband will appeal to the "squeezed-middle commuter", highlighting the huge increases that passengers face. Labour has warned that some commuters could be paying as much as 13 per cent more for their season tickets over the next two years.

Ms Eagle said: "Many commuters are in for an unwelcome new year surprise this week when they discover that the price of their rail ticket has risen by much more than George Osborne promised. This is a direct consequence of the Tory-led government caving in to pressures from lobbyists."

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