PROTESTS were held at railway stations across Dorset to highlight the latest 3.1 per cent fare increase.

Labour party members displayed banners and handed out flyers to passengers and passers-by at Pokesdown, Branksome and Bournemouth stations on the first day of the fare increase.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the increase as “a disgrace” and said it “drives people away from public transport”.

His supporters were out in force to urge rail users to vote for them in the next election.

The increase sees a 12-month season ticket between Bournemouth and London Waterloo rise to £6,944, with Bournemouth to Winchester at £4,108 and Bournemouth to Southampton to £2,892.

Those wanting a season ticket from Bournemouth to Birmingham would have to fork out £10,542.

Bournemouth Labour Party campaign officer David Stokes said: “We are highlighting the terrible increase in rail fares for commuters and for the general public.

“In the eight years that the Conservatives have been in power rail fares have gone up 36 per cent. We have had a tremendous response from people.”

He said fares in England and Wales are roughly six times higher than in most of Europe and added: “People are also upset about recent delays.”

Campaigner Lisa Lewis added: “We have the most expensive rail fares in Europe and also the most congested roads.

“We should be doing more to get people off the roads and travelling by train. It is cheaper to go anywhere in a car than it is to get the train.

“It is terrible for commuters to have such a big bill to pay every year.”

Passenger Tony Woods added: “It is ridiculous that the prices have gone up again but I don’t have much choice, particularly with so many roadworks causing delays.”

The rail industry says 98p of every pound spent on a ticket is invested back into the network.

And Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the government had made a “record investment” in rail.

Mr Grayling also announced that a new railcard extending child fares to 16 and 17-year-olds in full-time education or training will be available by September.

A discount railcard for 26 to 30-year-olds also went on sale yesterday.

Like the existing railcard for 16 to 25-year-olds, it costs £30 per person and reduces fares by a third.