MP Mark Pawsey is demanding answers from train bosses over a 50 per cent hike to parking charges at Rugby station.
Daily parking rates at the station will rise from £6 to £9 on Monday (September 5), while the reduced off-peak rate will be abolished. With the off-peak weekday ticket priced at £4 being withdrawn, it will mean commuters will be forced to pay the daily parking rate of £9.
Mr Pawsey has written to station operator Virgin Trains and the Rail Minister to ask how the increase can be justified.
He told The Observer: “I was extremely disappointed to learn that Virgin are planning these price increases. Many commuters, myself included, rely on the car park at Rugby Station in order to travel to London, Birmingham or elsewhere for work.
“To impose such a huge increase in prices for commuters is very concerning, especially at a time when we are trying to encourage rail use.
“Rugby has a great transport offer and I fear that this decision will make our town less attractive to businesses and commuters.
I have written both to the Managing Director at Virgin Trains and to Paul Maynard MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, to express both my concerns and the concerns of local residents about these proposals.”
“I have called, both in meetings with Virgin and in Westminster, for improvements to be made to the capacity of the car parks and to repair the signage. I hope that Virgin will reconsider these increases and instead focus on investing in Rugby Station to help meet the growing demand for their services.”
The move has also been blasted by chair of Rugby Rail Users Group Stephanie Clifford.
She said: “Rugby Rail Users Group is astonished at this second very large price increase in two years.
“Most surprising is the decision to remove the weekday off-peak rate. It is likely that by the autumn, the car parks will still be full, but we will be paying big city prices.”
A Virgin Trains spokesman said the parking charges had been discounted for ‘the last few years’ to encourage more people to travel by train.
He added there had been a growing demand for parking spaces, and said all rail users who held season tickets – either with Virgin Trains or other Train Operating Companies – would get a more competitive rate than non-rail users.