Prices for train tickets from Greater Anglia and c2c have increased this morning by just shy of two percent.

The hike in prices for both companies is less than the national average of 2.3 per cent, with Virgin Trains East Coast services issuing the highest increase at 4.9 per cent.

The annual rise in rail fares has been described by public transport campaigners as "another kick in the teeth" for passengers.
The overall rise is the highest since January 2014, when fares increased by 2.8%.

Lianna Etkind, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "Today's fare rises are another kick in the teeth for long-suffering rail passengers.

"Many experienced a less frequent and more overcrowded service last year, and now they are required to pay more for the same this year. The whole fares system is completely unfair and its high time the Government overhauled it."

Vickie Sheriff, Which? Director of Campaigns and Communications, said: "The rise in rail fares that take effect today will be a bitter pill to swallow for passengers who continue to experience cancellations, delays, overcrowding and poor service from their train companies.

“We are working with the Rail Minister and industry to improve information on rail fares and ticketing that will make it easier for people to choose the best value fare for their journey. Passengers also need to be able to easily access compensation where it is owed and the system for handling complaints must be urgently overhauled.”

Train operator c2c, which runs services in south Essex including between London and Shoeburyness, says their average increase is 1.5 per cent with season tickets being increased by 1.8 per cent as of this morning.

A spokesman for the company said: "We know nobody likes fare increases, but c2c fares are going up by less than both the Government-mandated increase and the national average.

“This year for the first time our passengers can save money by using the automatic compensation we have given them for delays as brief as two minutes, and by using their loyalty points if they bought last year’s ticket online.

"Combined this means some passengers are paying less for their new ticket than they did last year, and any regular c2c passenger can benefit from both of these schemes."

For Greater Anglia, the average rise is 1.8 per cent but some fares have been frozen and for most individual journey tickets the increase is less than £1.

The Government uses the previous July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation to determine increases in regulated fares, including season tickets, which was capped at 1.9 per cent.

Train operating companies set the prices of other tickets but are bound by competition rules.

According to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, around 97p in every pound paid by passengers goes back into running and improving services.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: "Nobody wants to pay more to travel to work and at the moment in some places people aren't getting the service they are paying for.

"However, increases to season tickets are set by government. Money from fares is helping to sustain investment in the longer, newer trains and more punctual journeys that passengers want."

Virgin Trains East Coast said an overhaul of its pricing strategy means there will be 10,000 more discounted advanced fares available every week.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for more than a century, providing more seats and services.

"We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger."