Passengers slam 'unfair' parking charge price hikes at railway stations
Price hikes at railway stations across East Anglia - some of which have increased yearly fees by almost £150 - have been slammed by frequent travellers.
It now costs £2,122 for a yearly parking 'season ticket' at Ipswich railway station - up 6% on last year's fee, which saw the facility ranked among Britain's most expensive.
That is the highest price of the main commuter stations in Suffolk and north Essex - more than the £1,716-a-year bill at Colchester.
Frequent passengers have criticised the price rises, at a time when the rail franchise, currently run by Greater Anglia, is under increased scrutiny.
At the moment the 2020 prices, which came into effect last month, are not actually listed on the rail operator's website because of a maintenance issue - though travellers can find the right prices at individual stations.
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Kate Everett said it now costs her husband nearly £10,000 a year to travel to work with the increased parking charges at Manningtree (£1,685 per year).
"It's so expensive," she added. "My husband parks most days to get the train into London and there is no other choice really.
"Add that cost to the season ticket and it's getting close to £10,000 a year for travel to work."
Darrell Brierley, who commutes from Ipswich, added: "Absolutely diabolical. My season ticket without parking is nearly £7,000 and the service is at times awful. To then be asked to pay an additional £2,000 is extortionate."
Meanwhile, Richard Owers claimed the situation said: "A pound per day increase at Colchester, 10% for no better service."
'Unfair on neighbours'
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Those living near railway stations also said the price hikes have had a knock-on effect on town centre parking.
Kim Johnson, from Stowmarket, said: "The (station) car park is usually empty but the residential streets are full off commuter's cars - which is really unfair for the people living round the station. If they made it £1.50 a day, the car park would be packed."
Graham Punchard, from Manningtree, added: "Since the increase we have seen a significant increase in commuters parking in local roads and then walking to the station."
A Greater Anglia spokesman said the 2020 prices will soon appear on its website.
They added: "At the start of the year, we made some adjustments to parking prices at some of our stations. Some prices have been frozen or gone down.
"All money raised from car park charges is used for improving and maintaining our car parks.
"During this franchise, we are investing over £25million on car parks at our stations, creating an extra 1,782 spaces, fitting LED lights, installing Automatic Number Plate Recognition, improving CCTV and security and re-surfacing.
The spokesman continued: "This high level of investment on improvements exceeds our projected extra revenue generated by increased prices."
A new hourly rate of £1 has also been introduced at Manningtree station, representatives for the company added.
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