Rail fares to rise by 5.9% from January


Atoc's Michael Roberts: "People are voting with their feet and their wallets increasingly to travel by train"

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Train fares will rise by an average of 5.9% in January 2012, the Association of Train Operating Companies has said.

In his Autumn Statement last month, Chancellor George Osborne capped fare increases at 6%, instead of the expected 8%.

Fare rises are linked to July's inflation, as measured by the Retail Prices Index, which stood at 5%.

Atoc said the fare increase would be used to pay for "new trains, faster services and better stations".

"The long standing government approach to sustaining rail investment is to cut the contribution from taxpayers and increase the share paid for by passengers," said the group's chief executive Michael Roberts.

Currently, passengers contribute about £6.5bn to the running of the railways, with taxpayers picking up the remaining £4bn.

Policy change

The fare increases apply in England, Scotland and Wales, and take effect from Monday 2 January.

About half of all fares are set by the government formula of RPI inflation in July, plus 1%. RPI is currently running at 5.2%.

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In last year's Spending Review, the government said it wanted to increase this to RPI plus 3%, but last month the chancellor said he would not be implementing this change.

The average increase covers regulated fares such as season tickets for most commuter journeys, and off-peak fares on most intercity trains, Atoc said.

Unregulated tickets include advance tickets and business fares at peak times. Atoc said these fares were "heavily influenced" by government policy.

The increase of 5.9% applies to both regulated and unregulated fares. The fact it is an average means some fares will rise by more than this figure, and some will rise by less.

Customers wanting to know the precise details of fare increases relevant to them should go to National Rail Enquiries to see the difference in cost between a ticket now and the same ticket after 2 January, Atoc said.

'Rich toy'

The Labour party criticised the government for allowing fare rises that could be more than 5.9%.

"It's clear that many commuters are facing a fares fiddle thanks to the government's decision to allow train companies to average out the revised fare cap across a range of tickets, meaning many tickets will rise by a shocking 9% in the new year," said Maria Eagle, shadow transport secretary.

In September, the then transport secretary Philip Hammond described UK rail fares as so expensive that trains had become a "rich man's toy".

Atoc said rail journey numbers had increased by 5% in the first nine months of this year, with demand now as high as it has ever been in peacetime since the 1920s.

Percentage train fare increases since 1992 against RPI inflation rate

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  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Us commuters who use trains or cars to get to work will very soon end up unable to use either of them. Tax on petrol is going up and train fares will continue to rise. We will end up having to walk to work. Trains are meant to be the alternative choice of going to work but train fares continuing to rise and get more expensive as well. Most of our money is probably being wasted by the government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    This is apalling! I am a taxpayer. I am not a commuter, in fact I rarely use the train, but I have no objection to my taxes being used to subsidise the train service. I would like to see it renationalised, subsidised and made into a first class, efficient, affordable service for the benefit of all. How the heck are people supposed to get to work?

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    Let me have a little comparison.I am from China.Last time I went back to China , I took train from Beijing to Shenyang,which is approx 600 miles journey. The train has the latest tech on board.Very comfy seats, which 180 degrees rotating device. The train travels at peak speed of 400 odd kmph. Whole journey took 4 hours.I bought the first class seats as well. how much was the ticket? 25 pounds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Our train system is a national joke. Overpriced, tired old stock, incomprehensible staff, crowded carriages, prices set under THEIR terms. It's a virtual monopoly behaving like a monopoly. So, what do we do? Instead of spending billions on sorting this mess out, we discuss some fast train service between London and B'ham? Why? 100% not required. Let's spend the money on sorting out what we have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    This is utterly ridiculous. I have seen no sign of improvement on any station whatsoever. Through not being able to drive due to an injury,I regularly visit my sons (in newcaslte) which has proved to be more of an occasion now, and not a regular occurence which is disheartening. I am deeply offended that this has now become a 'rich mans' transport. Utterly repulsed by the way this country works.


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