Rail commuters could be hit by the biggest fare increase in a decade with costs possibly being increased by up to 4.8 per cent next year.
The increase, which has yet to be confirmed, could see the average annual season ticket cost increase by £150 to £3,295 for passengers.
Increases are normally linked to the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was confirmed as 3.8 per cent for July 2021 by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday.
No announcement has been made on what will happen to fares next year, but ticket costs in England and Wales increased by an average of about 2.6 per cent in March, representing RPI for July 2020 plus one percentage point.
Critics called the possible increase eye-watering while campaigners called for fares to be frozen in a bid to encourage commuters back onto trains after the pandemic.
The Scottish Government imposed smaller increases of 1.6 per cent and 0.6 per cent for peak and off-peak travel respectively.
A repeat of the policy in England and Wales next year would see fares increase by an average of 4.8 per cent, which would be the biggest increase since 2012.
That would lead to hikes in the price of annual season tickets such as:
- Brighton to London (any route): Up £245 to £5,353
- Liverpool to Manchester (any route): Up £132 to £2,892
- Neath to Cardiff: Up £89 to £1,941
If the increase goes ahead, the average annual season ticket price could increase by £150 to £3,925 for passengers.
Overall prices will have to increase by £1,100 or 50 per cent in just over a decade.
The highest increase is predicted to be on a season ticket between Birmingham and London Euston which could cost
£12,044 next year, an increase of £4,016 since 2010.
Public transport fares in London are set to be increased by 4.8 per cent in January, under the terms of the UK Government’s bailout of Transport for London which said that RPI plus one percentage point must be used.
Rises in fares for mainline rail services across Britain are controlled by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.
A spokesperson for the UK Government’s Department for Transport said that no decision had been made on national rail fares and that the Government was viewing a description of options and they would announce their decision in due course.
Rail fares are usually increased every January, but the coronavirus pandemic meant this year’s increase was delayed until March 1.
It’s no wonder why people aren’t rushing back to the office, but then maybe that’s partly the reason for the fee increase – fewer passengers, more high-priced fees, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they intend to cut the number of trains per hour – people certainly won’t be giving their vehicles up anytime soon.
And the problem we have with rising rail fares is that they go up but nothing ever seems to get better. They’re usually dirty, the seats are stained and uncomfortable, and even with the greatly diminished capacity, they’re crowded at peak times and completely lawless with no crew onboard to check tickets or keep some semblance of order.
People used to enjoy a day out on the train, but with the price hikes, they just couldn’t afford it now because it’s become an overpriced service that’s rapidly getting worse, and yet the government are trying to encourage us to use public transportation.
And some of us are old enough to remember when it was more affordable to catch the train than travel by car, and considering the rate that fuel is currently rising, that’s quite the achievement.