The price of train tickets on routes around Birmingham are set to rocket by four times the rate of wage rises in the next year, transport campaigners warned.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) claimed a season ticket between the city and Tamworth would rise in cost from £1,520 to £1,643 next year – an increase of 8.1 per cent.
At the same time, salaries are predicted to grow by just 2.2 per cent.
The CBT said that with rail fares taking up a growing proportion of their income, commuters could clog up the roads by using more cars and fewer trains.
By 2015, rail fares will be on average 28.4 per cent higher than they are now, the group suggested.
It said an off-peak return between Birmingham and London will soar from £44.30 to £56.87.
The figures are based on the Government’s decision to allow operators to increase fares by three per cent over inflation, which currently running at 5.1 per cent, for the next three years.
Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said: “Times are tough for many people and they are going to get more so in the coming months.
“With fares rising so much faster than wages, the cost of the commute is becoming an increasingly heavy burden and there is a real danger that some people simply won’t be able to afford to get to work.
“We’ve seen help for drivers, but where is the help for rail passengers?”
Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond said that raising the price cap would help to reduce the culture of reliance on subsidies within the rail industry.
A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: “We understand that these are tough times for many people but the money raised through fares ensures investment in more trains, better stations and faster services.
“Both this Government and the last have decided that the taxpayer should contribute less and the passenger more to the overall cost of running the railways.”