A Lancaster mum could be paying up to £5,000 a year on travel as rail fares are set to increase.
Mariam Aboelezz commutes from Lancaster to London once a week for her job at the British Library in King’s Cross.
On average the mum-of-two spends just under £4,000 a year on return rail tickets, £4,500 a year if she works in London two days a week.
But when fares increase in January 2018, due to the annual rate of inflation, commuters could find themselves part of the ‘£5k commuter club.’
“If the prices go up I will likely find myself in that club,” said Mariam.
“I am worried because I wonder how it is going to affect ticket prices in Lancaster.
“The only advantage I have this year is that my son goes into full time child care and I think I will save money on child care which will go towards my rail fare, which is a shame as I have not been able to save.”
The increases are expected to begin on January 1 next year if the government gives it the go-ahead – but train companies do not have to implement this if they do not want to.
“I don’t think it is fair, the government promised ticket prices would be frozen and I think it affects people who live further away from London,” said Mariam.
“There is not that many employment opportunities in the north and you feel like you are being punished if you choose to work in London but live further away.”
According to the Office for National Statistics 2.6m people made daily commutes of two hours or more in 2010.
Today this has increased to 3.7m people.
Due to her contractual hours and range of job flexibility the maximum Mariam has to travel to London is two days.
This can work to her advantage as Mariam’s hours means she often can purchase a cheaper off-peak ticket at £93.20, a peak ticket can cost £146 from Lancaster to London.
Mariam said: “Even now it is not the most economically viable decision for me, the flexibility the British Library offer me I am of course grateful for, in terms of times I don’t mind the two and a half journey, I know people who live on the outskirts of London who make a similar journey, but tickets are just too expensive.
“My husband works in Lancaster and we live here, sometimes I do look for a job that is closer to home but I think you have to weigh a lot of things up.
“The increase is still all talk at the moment, we shall see what happens, it is difficult to predict just how much you are going to pay.”