Rail Fares To Rise Above Inflation Again
Rail fares are set to increase by an average of 4.2% in January.
Watchdog Passenger Focus said some rail season ticket holders will face fare rises of almost 6%.
It found an annual ticket from Canterbury in Kent to London will be going up from £4,588 to £4,860 - a 5.9% rise.
Those buying season tickets from Tonbridge to London will face a 5.2% rise from January 2, with the cost going up to £3,796.
Other above-average increases highlighted by the group include Northampton to London (up 4.7% to £4,980); Morpeth to Newcastle-upon-Tyne (up 5.0% to £1,008) and Llanelli to Swansea (up 5.4% to £624).
However, it also found some season tickets are not rising as much, while others are actually going down.
The cost of a season ticket from Shenfield in Essex to London dips in price from £2,720 to £2,704, while an Ellesmere Port to Chester annual ticket will only be going up by 2.3% to £720.
Among other season tickets rising by less than 4.0% are Aylesbury to London (up 3.2%), Cambridge to London (up 3.8%), Tain to Inverness (up 3.8%) and Stirling to Glasgow (up 3.9%).
The rises could have been steeper but for an intervention by the Government to limit the regulated fare rise to RPI inflation (as of July 2012) plus 1%, rather than the planned RPI plus 3% increase.
Train companies have the flexibility to raise some season tickets above the 4.2% ceiling as long as the average increase on their trains is no more than 4.2%.
Passenger Focus said it appeared train companies were exercising restraint but added that the price rises will still feel steep in some places.
Chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Passengers will feel this pain. After years of above-inflation fare rises, fresh increases are piling pressure on already high fares. The Government and the rail industry must now work together to deliver on the welcome promise to get fare rises in line with inflation."
Regulated fares account for around 40% of total fares. Train companies can raise these by as much as they like. Details of all fare rises are expected in the next few days.
Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said the fare hikes were "intolerable", while RMT general secretary Bob Crow described them as "a full-frontal assault on passengers in the name of profit".
Rail Minister Norman Baker said: "Family budgets are being squeezed, so that is why this Coalition Government has taken pro-active steps to cut the planned fare rises from 3% to 1% above inflation until 2014.
"This decision puts an average of £45 per year back into the pockets of over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders. Many more holders of weekly and monthly season tickets could also see lower fare rises and some commuters could be over £100 better off.
"It is misleading to search for the highest increase and then imply that that represents the average, as some I am afraid will do. It's worth noting that some fares, such as the season ticket from Shenfield to London, are actually going down."
what do you think?
This comes at a time when energy prices are rising and people's incomes are static, or even falling. Yet the government wonders why there is no growth in the economy. Some are even suggesting that VAT could rise from 20% to 25%. No one seems to take a wide view across the government. There is no joined up thinking. Food prices will also be rising, partly due to bad weather here and in other countries, and partly because of rising demand in places such as China and India.
Basically what happens is money grabbing private rail companies drop fares on the less popular routes so they can boost them on the popular routes and stay within the 4.5 percent overall target. Yet another failed privatisation. Which party is responsible for selling the railways off far too cheaply?
Ben. I supported the privatisations on the grounds breaking up monopolies would lead to increased competition and benefit the consumer. It certainly hasn't worked in the energy industry or the railways, both of which have been unmitigated disasters.
WELCOME TO RIP OF BRITAIN...THIS COUNTRY IS GOING TO DIE ON ITS FEET ,,THANK TO THIS GOV
Not just this government we have around 600 overpaid idiots sitting in Westminster - if you fail at something go in to politics seems to be the advert
Oh and Blair really helped the cause didn't he?
Its going to be more expensive to work than it is not to this country us finished it wont be long before its 3rd world
Some would say many of our services are already third world. I always smile when the NHS is described as the envy of the world, perhaps but only because it is free
Do people really spend nearly £5k on a season ticket? You could buy a car with that. Or a motorbike for less.
You pay a congestion charge in London if you have a car and parking in a car is £25 in an ncp carpark and if you want to jump on the biking bandwagon, deal with the chaotic rush hour into London where car drivers knock you off as you are making progress. Not to mention the limited biking bays where fellow bikers if they can't get a spot will wheel out your bike, put their bike in, leave yours on a yellow line and it gets towed. Welcome to London where you have a higher salary but a long and expensive commute.
It does actually make you wonder whether we need a rail service as the govt & the rail companies seem to be trying to price us out of being able to use it. My sympathies lie with those commuters in the SE who seem to have little option and can therefore be held to ransom each year
Privatisation was botched, thanks to Treasury interference and John Major's government's inability to think for themselves.
David. I don't think even John Major would argue with that. I certainly don't
"This decision puts an average of £45 per year back into the pockets of over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders. Many more holders of weekly and monthly season tickets could also see lower fare rises and some commuters could be over £100 better off. What planet is this stupid minister on??? Does he really believe that he is putting money back in peoples pockets?? What a PLEB!!!!
PLEB is the wrong word, but I am afraid that we wouldn't be allowed to use a more appropriate term!
It was Irony David.. lol
I think they must get degree's in stupidity. 'were putting up prices', so its obvious to us all how very generous they are to save us this money. My i'm so gratefull.
The most expensive rail system in Europe with the worst service people need to stand up and boycott it instead of moaning like babies
It is not the worst service. Try travelling acoss France, especially cross-country, and away from the TGV network, an you will find trains that are slow and infrequent. In Germany, even Inter City trains have a poorer punctuality record than ours have.
well said mate no back bone in people i think we just sit here and let this goverment take us for a ride
Your planning for the economy is as bad as your spelling & grammar.
Our rail tickets are 10 times higher now than any other country in the world. This and the last Government are terrible and everyone should vote UKIP or BNP
Oh, rail fares to rise above inflation again? Surprise, surprise, who would have thought?
Let the train take the strain.Its the pocket that needs attention.TSKE THE CAR.