PRICES at station car parks have been hiked to pay for revamps - which could benefit elsewhere in the country.

NCP and Greater Anglia has been accused of having a monopoly at Colchester North Station after they put up prices by £1 a day, with commuters now paying £8.60 to park.

Greater Anglia, which decides on the price rises, said it had been done to create new car parking spaces and roll out Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology.

However, it said it had not yet been decided where the improvements would happen.

Colchester MP Will Quince, who regularly travels to London on the train, said he did not think Colchester would see any benefit.

He said: “It will be spent elsewhere.

“Colchester North Station already has a massive car park and I’m not aware of any plans for it.

“Our commuters will not see any benefits.”

Mr Quince said Essex County Council should be taking advantage of the situation and extend the opening hours of Colchester Park and Ride for commuters.

He said: “Frankly there’s no competition for NCP here.

“The county council has a golden opportunity to give commuters another option.

“We have a park and ride which is losing £300,000 a year, which is opening too late and closing too early for commuters.

“It needs to start earlier and for there to be a commuter ticket so it gives them a better deal where they are paying less.

“It is only a few hundred yards up the road. I’ve said this from the start when park and ride first opened.”

Marks Tey station has also been hit by the rise.

Commuters parking there now have to pay £6.10 a day for parking.

Richard Beckensall, commutes into London from Marks Tey.

He said: “It has gone from £6.10 a day, up to £7.10 a day, a 15 per cent increase, which is outrageous based on the fact if you get there past 8.30am you will struggle to get a space and one of the car parks is a dirt car park.

“They have a monopoly and can just do what they like, similar to the train costs.”

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We have put up car park fees this year for the first time in two years.

“We offer parking season tickets which give a discount on daily fees.

“During our current franchise we are planning to invest nearly £60m on improving stations, including creating 1,800 additional car parking spaces as well as the roll out of new Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology which makes parking quicker, easier and more effective for customers.”

The spokesman added it had not yet been finalised which stations would be receiving upgrades in the future.