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Stations set for protests over fares.

A SERIES of protests will be held at railway stations tomorrow, the day the annual increase in fares kicks in, as research shows some commuters are paying a fifth of their salary on train travel.

Fares will go up by an average of 3.4% tomorrow, the biggest increase since 2013, covering unregulated fares such as offpeak leisure tickets, and season tickets will go up by 3.6%.

Tickets for Arriva Trains Wales will rise by 3.3%, and Great Western Railway by 3.1%.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will hand out chocolates to commuters tomorrow saying they want to "sweeten the bitter pill" of the increased cost.

The union said the 3.6% season ticket increase is over 50% more than the rise in average earnings last year, with some commuters now paying a fifth of their annual income on rail travel.

Fares have increased by 24.5% since the public sector pay freeze, which came into effect in 2011, limiting pay rises to just over 5% in the same period, said the RMT.

Protests will be held at around 40 railway stations tomorrow when passengers return to work after the Christmas break.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It's another new year and yet another hike in fares for passengers.

"These eye-watering increases will make it even harder for workers to get by.

"While workers are struggling the private train companies are raking it in. As we enter the 25th year anniversary of railway privatisation legislation, the need for public ownership of rail has never been more popular or necessary."

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 1, 2018
Words:267
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