Rail Fares To Rise By 4.1% In January 2014
Rail users will face an increase of around 4.1% in fares in the new year after new inflation figures were revealed.
Campaigners have been protesting at 50 train stations across the country against the rise of fares compared with average earnings.
Retail price index (RPI) inflation rose by 3.1% in the year to July, down from 3.3% last month, but regulated fares - such as season tickets - will rise by an extra 1% when the new prices are announced from January.
Campaigners claim fares have risen three times faster than wages in the last six years.
The next price hike will be the sixth time in seven years that rail fares have outstripped wages, they say.
Between 2008 and next January rail fares will have jumped by 40%, compared with a 15% increase in average earnings, it is claimed.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) warned unregulated tickets could rise by 9%, against forecasts of a 2.4% increase in average earnings next year.
It said rail privatisation was costing taxpayers £1.2bn a year despite "minimal" investment in trains and stations.
The TUC and the Action For Rail campaign group organised demonstrations at stations including Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Glasgow Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle Central and London's Paddington, King's Cross and Victoria.
Rail Maritime and Transport union leader Bob Crow said: "This latest inflation-busting hike in fares is a kick in the teeth for the British people who are condemned for another year to pay the highest prices in Europe to travel on clapped-out, overcrowded and unreliable trains while the private operators are laughing all the way to the bank."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said nobody liked paying more for fares but the Government was investing heavily in the railways.
"Nobody likes to see rail fares go up. I don't like to see it and passengers don't like to see it," he said.
"We are massively investing in the railways, with £130m being spent here at Nottingham, £800m at Reading and £600m at Birmingham.
"Running the railways is a very expensive business."
Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle told Sky News that some train companies were "fiddling" the fare cap.
"A 4.1% average increase, yes, but up to 9.1% because the current government gave back to train companies the power to increase some fares by an extra 5% on top (of RPI)," she said.
"The first thing they could and should do is put a stop to that."