The new year did not get off to a good start for commuters who were greeted with far increases of almost 6%.

A group of campaigners protested at St Albans City Station on Tuesday, January 2 along with other unhappy passengers across the country.

Labour group leader at St Albans District Council Councillor Martin Leach said: “If you speak to any commuter they’ll tell you the appalling service they receive despite spending almost £3,000 for the privilege.”

Plans to introduce the Oyster card system to St Albans were rejected by the Department for Transport in January in favour of a new form of travel card technology. The alternative system, ITSO, is scheduled to be introduced in St Albans – however, not until 2014.

Furious residents hit out at London Luton Airport’s plans to increase its capacity by millions – saying it will turn their lives into “a nightmare”.

London Luton Airport Limited, owned by Luton Borough Council, revealed that it was seeking to increase capacity to 18 million passengers per year using the existing runway, from its current maximum of 11.5 million. Airport bosses said the expansion will generate 6,000 jobs and millions of pounds of investment.

John Davis,who lives in Harpenden, said: “We are very angry that once again the area we live in is being threatened by more aircraft noise and pollution.

“The roads around the airport are already gridlocked and as much as they say passengers will use public transport, they will get in their cars and add to the traffic.

“The fact is having twice as many planes means twice as much disruption and it is going to be a nightmare for people living under the flight paths.”

Elsewhere in the city, thieves stole 30 rare Saxon silver coins, worth about £12,000, from the Museum of St Albans. The coins were snatched from a locked display cabinet during the weekend of Saturday, January 7.

An inquest into the death of Terrence Finley, whose dead body was left undiscovered for two years, was also heard in January.

The badly decomposed body was found in a flat in Irene Stebbings House in Central Drive on November 25, 2011 after the council called the police when they were unable to check his boiler. Hertfordshire’s coroner Edward Thomas said that due to the “advanced mummification” of the body a proper post mortem examination could not be carried out. The cause of death was recorded as unascertained.