Travel woes of commuters in the UK continued even as the government kicked in the increased rail fares on Friday, amid weeks of disruptions on trains and tracks. The regulated fares in the country rose up to 2.5 percent, including season tickets, while the overall fares went up by an average of 2.2 percent.
The delays, during the rush hour, for passengers traveling from London to Scotland, were reportedly caused by problems in the overhead wires at Nuneaton in the West Midlands. London Midland trains between London and Crewe, about 179 miles north to London, were also delayed, The Guardian reported.
"This year's fare hike will hit passengers particularly hard because wages are rising so slowly. Rail fares are now consuming a huge proportion of people's wages, leaving precious little for other bread and butter expenses," Frances O'Grady, general secretary for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said, according to the Daily Express, adding: "On average passengers are now paying £600 more for a season ticket and yet seeing no change in their pay packets."
In addition, people travelling between Gloucester and Birmingham will have to pay 2.44 percent more, and those travelling between Leeds and Wakefield will have to pay 1.2 percent more fare, according to The Daily Express.
While the country's ministers and heads of railway departments claim that the hike has been the lowest in five years, TUC figures state that commuters in the UK spend more than twice as much of their salary on rail fares than many other European passengers.
The hike comes even as train networks faced weeks of disruptions during rush hour due to ongoing maintenance work. Last Saturday, King’s Cross and Paddington stations were closed on account of the pending work.
“At 2.2%, the average increase in fares in 2015 is the lowest for five years. We understand no one likes to pay more, especially to go to work,” Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators and Network Rail, said, according to the Daily Express, adding: "We are very sorry that many passengers experienced a service well short of what they deserved last weekend. To ensure we build a better railway, Network Rail is spending £38 billion over five years alongside commitments made by train companies. This will deliver more seats, better stations and improved journeys for passengers."