2 January 2013
Commuters returning to work today were met by a ToffsRUs jazz band protesting at St Pancras International station at the latest inflation plus hike in rail fares.
Dressed in Etonian top hat and tails, the band were supported by placard carrying members of the TSSA rail union objecting to old Etonians David Cameron and George Osborne pushing up regulated fares by 16% since coming to power in 2010.
Leaflets were handed to commuters listing stations in the South East where it now costs more than £5,000 for an annual season to get to work in London.*
Union general secretary Manuel Cortes, who was supported at the demo by Labour's Shadow Transport Minister Maria Eagle, said: "It is simply morally wrong for a Government which has ushered in an age of austerity to penalise working people with these year-on-year inflation busting increases. Philip Hammond thought he was being ironic when he said that rail was now a rich man's toy but this is what David Cameron is now turning into a harsh reality.
"Tens of thousands of commuters are now paying more than £5,000 a year for their season ticket just to get to work. That may be a blink of an eye to an old Etonian but it is a real burden to ordinary families who have seen their incomes severely squeezed in the past three years."
The protest at St Pancras was repeated at 14 other stations across the country, including London's Waterloo, Brighton, Bristol, Exeter, Derby, Sheffield, Middlesborough and Newcastle.
The union nationwide protest was supported by five other green and transport groups calling for an end to inflation plus fare rises and the return of the rail network to the public sector.
* Stations in the £5,000 annual season ticket club include, Bedford, Kings Lynn, Northampton, Colchester, Newbury, Battle and Milton Keynes.