Councillor blasts First Capital Connect over parking costs

RAIL operator First Capital Connect has come under fire for imposing an inflation-busting rise on station parking.

Long-suffering commuters – still reeling from a new year hike in ticket prices – have been hit further in the pocket.

The cost of parking for the day at Welwyn North has risen nearly 10 per cent, from �5.50 to �6.

And one borough councillor has written to the FCC managing director Neal Lawson to say enough is enough.

Cllr Andrew Canter pointed out the rise works out at around three times the rate of inflation.

He wrote: “This really does beggar belief given the current financial state my constituents and your customers are facing given the recent rises in VAT and cutbacks we will all have to make.”

Calling on Mr Lawson to “urgently review” the decision, Cllr Canter added: “It would have been prudent to either leave the charges as they were, or actually lower them to counter the increase in fares.”

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A spokesman for FCC defended the price rise – and said commuters had been given the chance in the autumn to buy car park season tickets at last year’s prices.

He said: “The new prices include the 2.5 per cent increase in VAT.

“We announced the new prices in November to allow customers to buy tickets for car parks for 2011 at 2010’s prices. We have sought to minimise price rises as we want to encourage continued growth in rail travel and we have set our prices accordingly.”