By politics.co.uk staff
Norman Baker has been roundly mocked for insisting train fare rises were "not nearly as expensive as has been presented", despite another inflation-busting rise to bring in the new year.
The spectacularly mistimed comments came as commuters swallowed an average 3.9% rise on fares yesterday - the tenth consecutive year of above-inflation rises and a move which has seen some fares rise up to 87.5% since 2003.
The comments also coincided with further cancellations and delays after over a week of disruptions.
"Once you take the basket of fares, include early advance and off-peaks, we are not nearly as expensive as has been presented," the rail minister told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Baker was further mocked for suggesting trains were a 'premium service'.
"You could argue that the people who are travelling in the rush hour are using the premium product and therefore ought to pay," he said.
"By and large, the railways are performing quite well."