Commuters returned to work this week with the gloomy knowledge that they had been hit in the pocket again by rail fare increases.
An annual season ticket to travel from Hemel Hempstead to London has gone up by £104 from £3,304 in 2013 to £3,408.
London workers, who have endured inflation-busting fare rises for 11 years on the trot, were hit by the same January blues 12 months ago when an annual season ticket from the town went up by £100.
The price hike this time around is 3.1 per cent, which is above the national average.
A London Midland spokesman said: “In line with guidance issued by the Chancellor in his autumn statement, London Midland has increased its regulated fares this January by an average figure of 3.1 per cent.
“Unregulated fares increased by an average of just 1.4 per cent. As a weighted average this is an increase of 2.4 per cent.”
Across the country the average increase in rail fares is 2.8 per cent and that is the smallest rise in four years.
The train operator, which came under fire from commuters last year for poor service including delays and disruption, says revenue from fares pays for services and sustains investment in more trains, better stations and faster journeys.
For every pound of income the firm receives, on average 48p goes to Network Rail, which charges companies to run trains on the tracks, and other infrastructure costs, 17p goes on staff, 17p on miscellaneous costs, including train maintenance, administration and contractors, 11p on leasing trains, 4p on fuel/energy and 3p goes to the train company in profit.
London Midland says it has spent money on the introduction of 64 new trains worth more than £300 million, station improvements, major timetable improvements, enhancing Sunday services and providing extra seats.
Following new year fare increases across the country, The Campaign for Better Transport group is calling for cheaper, fairer and simpler train fares.
Find out more by clicking here