RAIL passengers have been hit with the biggest fare rise in five years with the new prices coming into effect today (Tuesday, January 2).

Average ticket prices across Britain went up by 3.4 per cent with protests held outside around 40 stations to mark the biggest increase since 2013.

Members of Worcester Labour Party were at Worcester Shrub Hill and Foregate Street to highlight the increases and to explain what the party would do towards restoring the railways to public ownership.

Worcester City Councillor Joy Squires (Labour) said: "Fares have gone up by 32 per cent since 2010 and today (Tuesday, January 2) fares are increasing by about 3.6 per cent.

"We were really here to highlight the fare increase with a little explanation about what the Labour party would do towards bring back the railways into public use.

"People were pleased to see us there and were taking our leaflets. We were able to talk to some passengers.

"Most of the people were actually commuting up to Birmingham for work, the same as my husband.

"I think the yearly season pass has increased by £40 or £50 per year."

The Worcester News visited Foregate Street station to find out what passengers thought about the increases.

Penny Perrett, of Fort Royal Hill, a retired teacher and member of the Worcester Labour party, was at both stations throughout the morning handing out posters.

The 68-year-old said: "It is appalling. Looking at the figures it has increased by 32 per cent (since 2010). I will not stop using the trains but it affects so many people – I wouldn’t be out here if it was not the case.

"I have substantial money to continue using the trains but for my family, of two parents and two kids, who come to visit me that will be a big difference to them."

Sam Atkins, aged 26, of St Johns, who was travelling to Bath Spa, said: "Everything is going up these days. It must be annoying for the people commuting."

Rosemary Washer, aged 28, who travels monthly to Evesham from her home in Chorley in Lancashire, said: "I come to Worcester every month to see my boyfriend. I will have a lot less money. Look how much it costs me £68.80.

"I am going to be coming up with £20 my pocket and will be having to ask my boyfriend to pay which is not good."

Tim Porter, aged 70, a freelance lecturer who regularly travels from Moreton-in-Marsh to Worcester, said: "I am not going to enjoy it (the increased fares).

"But, on the other hand improvements do need to be done.

"I must say I would like to see more carriages on the trains. It is hideous how we are packed in like sardines.

"I know these aren’t completely related but they could be if the money was used to make such improvements."

Both railway stations are managed by West Midlands Trains, which took over from London Midland on December 10, after the company lost its operations contract.

They have two main operating companies West Midlands Trains and Great Western Railway.