Rail fares to rise by average of 1.1%

Rail fares to rise by average of 1.1% from 2 January

  • 4 December 2015
  • From the section Business
A generic picture of a child and parent walking along a train platformImage copyright Thinkstock

Rail fares will rise by an average of 1.1% from January 2, 2016, rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has announced.

The RDG, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said it was the smallest annual rise for six years.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets, are capped at no more than July’s RPI inflation rate of 1%.

Unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets, can go up by as much as the train companies like.

RDG chief Paul Plummer said: “We know that nobody likes to pay more to travel by train, especially to get to work.”

But he added that money from fares now almost covers rail’s daily operating costs.

“This allows government to focus its funding on building a bigger, better network when the railway is becoming increasingly important at driving economic growth, underpinning jobs, and connecting friends and families,” Mr Plummer said.

Under government rules, the rise in regulated fares was restricted to no more than the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation over the year to July, which was 1%. Over the long term, RPI has tended to record higher inflation than the other measure of rising prices, the Consumer Price Index, which was 0.1% during the year.

‘Simply unfair’

But Martin Abrams, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said more must be done to achieve a “truly affordable railway” as fares have risen by more than 25% in the last five years.

“To avoid pricing people off the railways, the train operating companies and the government need to work closely together to provide fairer, simpler and cheaper fares through flexible ticketing and making sure people are always sold the cheapest ticket available.”

Mr Abrams insisted it was “simply unfair” that flexible ticketing has not yet been introduced, leading many part-time workers to “fork out for five-day season tickets which don’t give them the same savings that full-time commuters get”.

Rail Minister Claire Perry claimed the government’s decision to link regulated fare increases to no more than RPI will save the average season ticket holder £425 by 2020.

She added: “Our plan for passengers is improving journeys for everyone. It’s transforming the tickets people buy, how much they pay for them, the trains they sit on, how quickly they arrive and the stations they arrive in.”

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