Rail users have reacted with shock after train bosses announced ‘exorbitant’ rises to parking charges at Rugby Station.
Virgin Trains, which operates the service in Rugby, is increasing its parking fees across the board including scrapping off-peak tickets.
The off-peak daily rate of £4 is being axed and the peak price is rising by 50 per cent, meaning the cheapest weekday ticket will now be £9.
Yearly passes are rising by £215 – from £735 to £950 - or 30 per cent.
And non-rail users who want to use the station’s car park will now be hit with much more expensive season tickets - as high as £1,872 for a yearly pass.
The changes will come into effect on Monday, September 5.
Passengers were alerted to the changes by a poster at the station late last week.
One train user, who asked not to be named, said: “The plans to hike the cost of parking at Rugby Station next month are exorbitant.
“At the very least, Virgin Trains should consider the retention of the weekday off-peak rate, after all £9 instead of £4 is an increase of 125 per cent.”
It comes just 18 months since the last round of increases, when the annual car parking charge rose from £551 to £735 - a 33.4 per cent rise. This means train users have seen their annual parking pass increase by £399 or 72 per cent since March 2015.
Stephanie Clifford, the chairperson of the Rugby Rail Users’ Group, said: “The group is shocked at the 50 per cent increase in the daily parking rate, and the complete withdrawal of the off-peak rate.
“The off-peak change is puzzling, as by definition this can only be used if there are spaces available, so the price does not diminish peak-time demand. Even for annual season ticket holders, the increase is 30 per cent, taking the rate to £950 - and that’s before you even set foot on a train.
“Coming on top of the new parking restrictions in Technology Drive, some will see this increase in charges as a double whammy. It is likely that by the autumn, the car parks will still be full, but we will be paying big-city prices.”
The further squeeze on passengers’ wallets adds to existing frustrations that the 723 spaces at the three station car parks – in Railway Terrace, Murray Road and the Mill Road multi-storey – are often full by 8am.
A spokesman for Virgin Trains said: “Our car parks have remained at a heavily discounted rate over the last few years to encourage people to travel by train. During this time, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of people travelling from Rugby and have decided to change our pricing structure.
“Rail passengers will be able to benefit from discounted parking with monthly and three-monthly car park tickets and annual passes will be significantly cheaper for them than non-rail users.
“We are committed to ensuring all our passengers have the best possible experience when travelling from Rugby, which is one of our most popular stations.”
To find out more about Rugby Rail Users’ Group, visit its website at http://rugbyrailusersgroup.org.uk.