ANGRY commuters in Tendring claim another rise in railway fares is a “tax on going to work”.

Greater Anglia customers will now be paying a minimum of 2.6 per cent more for season tickets, singles and returns to London.

The move comes as new research suggests prices have risen twice as fast as wages in the past ten years.

Annual season tickets between Clacton and London Liverpool Street now cost £5,964 - an increase of £155 compared to last year.

From Harwich International an annual ticket will cost £6,148, an increase of £159, while season tickets from Colchester have risen from £5,264 to £5,412 per year.

John Smock, chairman of Tendring-based rail users group Ontrack, said: “New fare prices which come into force on January 2 mean that commuters from Clacton, Walton, Frinton and Harwich will now be paying not only in excess of 10 per cent of average take home pay, but in many cases well above that

“Is that not a tax on going to work? Or do the mandarins in Whitehall prefer more people in Tendring staying on the dole because fares are unaffordable?

“When a single fare costs nearly the same as an off-peak return fare means something is not right with the pricing and costs.

“Allied to the impending loss of First Class when the new trains start and delays in their delivery and engineering problems elsewhere there is much to test the patience of the railway passenger.

“And still there is no promise for Tendring services of faster trains or increased frequencies.

“Our MPs and councillors want no more development without improved road and rail services and other infrastructure

The Rail Delivery Group said 98p of every £1 spent on train fares goes towards running and maintaining services.

A Greater Anglia spokesman added: “Our average fare increase is just under 2.6 per cent, however we have frozen some of our ticket prices, including all of our advance fares which start from £6 and can be up to 60-70 per cent cheaper than walk-up fares.

“The increase applies to Government regulated fares, such as season tickets and anytime singles and returns.

“We need to apply this increase, as many of our costs will increase by at least 2.8 per cent in line with inflation.”