Biggest increase in years
Regulated rail fares are set to rise next year by up to 3.6 per cent after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the latest retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation this morning.
The government links the annual rise in Britain’s regulated fares to the July RPI. Train operators are can raise fares by as much as the RPI figure for July and the latest figure is the highest since 2011, when it was five per cent.
Regulated fares make up almost half of all tickets and include season tickets and standard returns.
Commuters are expected to be the worst hit with hundreds of pounds added to the cost of season tickets as a result.
David Sidebottom, director of Transport Focus, the independent transport user watchdog, said: “Yet again, passengers, now majority funders of the railway, face fare rises next January.
“Commuters do not give value for money on their railways a high satisfaction score – just one third according to our latest survey. So while performance remains patchy and with pay and wages not keeping pace with inflation, they will feel rightly aggrieved if they are paying much higher rises next January.
“Why is the Government not using its preferred measure of inflation: the one that is used to determine wages and pension increases, and one which is often lower than RPI? Why not use the Consumer Prices Index for rail fares too? Passengers deserve a fairer deal.”
The government said fare increases are justified by the improvements being made to the network.
“We are investing in the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century to improve services for passengers – providing faster and better trains with more seats,” a spokesperson for the Department for Transport said.
“We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger.”