RAIL commuters returned to work yesterday [Tuesday] facing a season ticket bill increase of 3.6 per cent.
The price hike will see an extra £160 added in Tunbridge Wells bringing the cost of an annual ticket to London to £4,644.
A season ticket from Tonbridge to London will cost £4,232, up from £4,088, making the line among the most expensive commuter routes in the country.
This represents the biggest increase since 2013 and local passenger groups have claimed the rail fares have risen 32 per cent since 2010 – twice faster than wages.
Early travellers at Tunbridge Wells were greeted by members of the town’s Labour Party group, handing out flyers in protest at the increases yesterday.
Hugo Pound, Labour Party Chairman for Tunbridge Wells, said: “These ticket increases are staggering.
“It makes rail travel unaffordable for many people whose wages are stagnant and whose standards of living are continuing to fall.
“Recent figures have shown the number of journeys using season tickets have dropped to a seven-year low.
“Constant fare rises are forcing many commuters to abandon using the train which is detrimental to our economy and to our environment.”
Mr Pound said a Labour government would introduce flexible tickets, cap fares and ensure a more reliable service by nationalising railways.
Southeastern is responsible for setting unregulated off-peak ticket fares, which are also set to rise by an average of 3.6 per cent.
Rail timetables are now back to normal following ten days of disruption and lengthened journeys into London as part of Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme.
A spokesman from Southeastern said: “We understand that no one likes to see prices go up, especially season ticket holders.
“Southeastern remains committed to making journeys better for passengers and has invested over £78m to improve train services and station facilities.”