Train passengers across Derbyshire are bracing themselves for another “headache” year of inflation-busting fare hikes.
The Government has announced that regulated rail fares, including season tickets, will rise by an average of 4.1 per cent in January.
Campaigners claim the hike will be the sixth time in seven years that fares have outstripped wages.
Councillor Andy Botham, Derbyshire County Council’s deputy cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, believes the rise will make rail travel unaffordable for some people.
He said: “Trains play an important role in getting people to work – such as from North East Derbyshire into Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham.
“But with many people struggling to make ends meet, we fear that another fare hike will mean rail travel is no longer an option for some people, putting more cars on the road.
“And for those with no alternative to travelling by train it means yet another headache, putting extra strain on already overstretched finances,” he added.
The controversial rise was announced by Transport Secretary and Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin.
He admitted: “Nobody likes to see rail fares go up.
“I don’t like to see it and passengers don’t like to see it.”
But Mr McLoughlin defended the hike, saying that the rail network was in need of ‘huge investment’ to ensure people get more reliable train services and better facilities.
He added: “Running the railways is a very expensive business.
“The taxpayer overall is contributing a lot and I am afraid that the passenger has to make his contribution.
“He does it as a taxpayer and as a passenger as well.”