RAIL passengers in Bournemouth have given a mixed reaction to news that fares will increase by 3.5 per cent next year.

Unions had warned that rail passengers in the south west would be facing fare rises of 3.6 per cent from January, and official figures released this morning showed that inflation rose by 2.5 per cent in July, meaning that regulated rail fares - including season tickets - will rise by this amount, plus an extra one per cent.

In the last decade, regulated fares have often risen by more than inflation.

Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, said rail fares had risen by 24.9 per cent between 2010 and 2015, while average earnings had gone up just 10.7 per cent.

“It's grim news for commuters that they face yet another year of fare hikes above inflation, while their wages keep dragging behind inflation,” he said.

Speaking outside Bournemouth Railway Station this afternoon, Rena Khatun, who lives in Poole with her family, said: “I do think it's a bit unfair.

“I travel a lot by train - I go to London quite a lot using trains, because I think it's less expensive overall than taking a car for the day. I also go back to Birmingham to visit family a lot, and an open-ended ticket costs £80 already.”

However, others including Leroy Hair, of Southampton, said the price hike wouldn't deter them from rail travel.

Mr Hair added: “It costs me a tenner a day.

“I get on at Totton and it's not so bad. They're always on time.”

Andy Raymond, who is on holiday in Dorset from his home in Suffolk, said: “I think the price of tickets isn't too bad.

“You'd probably spend more on petrol getting here.”

Maria Boss, of Bournemouth, said: “The trains are good for people who are disabled - they're accessible, which is good.

“The service is good too in my opinion.”

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Money from fares pays for more trains, better stations and faster services on what is already Europe's fastest growing, safest and most improved railway.”

He added that the government decides the average change to regulated fares each year.

“Our commitment is to enable future government fares decisions which work best for passengers by continuing to get more out of every pound we spend,” he said.