A cash-strapped commuter is furious after his rail fare was suddenly hiked by 72 per cent.

Graham Lonnon, 41, fears he is being priced off the railways after the nationwide increase this month.

The Department for Transport announced last December that regulated fares in England would increase by up to 4.9 per cent.

But Mr Lonnon, a finance worker from Bitterne who travels to London twice a week for work, did not expect his fare to increase by almost three quarters.

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"I always buy the advance tickets usually priced at £37.50 but when I tried to buy two return tickets earlier this month, they were priced at £64.50," he explained.

Stumped, Mr Lonnon checked he was searching for the correct dates.

When it transpired he had the correct date and times, he forked out for the ‘expensive’ tickets.

He said: “I spoke to someone from South Western Railway (SWR) about it then monitored the prices on their website for the same tickets.

“These were reducing day by day.

“SWR told me they reviewed demand for the advance tickets and are offering the same structure with an increased price.

“This price jump will now see an increase of £2,800 per year.

“The advance tickets are the least flexible and bought by those who are relying on these cheaper tickets, yet they suffer the 15 per cent increase.

“I am now out of pocket.”

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Mr Lonnon fears SWR have taken ‘hundreds and thousands’ of pounds from customers in a similar position to himself.

He added: “I wouldn’t mind if I was getting something for paying that amount, but most times I am trapped at a station because of poor service and unreliability.

“I have got no choice but to get the train to work twice a week.

“And those of us who buy advance tickets cannot afford the season tickets.

“SWR will rip the legs off their advanced ticket holders.”

In response to concerns, SWR said: “Advance purchase fares on longer distance services were first introduced after the pandemic to encourage customers back to the railway, using dynamic pricing models based on demand.

“Ticket availability is reviewed regularly and following the initial fare changes on March 3, price points were restored for each peak service, subject to the national fare rise of 4.9 per cent and some rounding.

“As a result, customers are still able to take advantage of excellent discounts on advance purchase tickets in line with previous fares.”