Rail fares set to rise by average of 1.1 per cent in January


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Train fares will rise by an average 1.1 per cent from January 2, after an announcement from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) last week.

The increase represents the smallest annual rise for six years, and the RDG said on Friday (December 4) that money from fares now almost covers railway day-to-day operating costs.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets, are capped at no more than July’s RPI (Retail Price Index) inflation rate of 1 per cent. Unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets, can go up as much as the train operators like.

A 12-month season ticket from Audley End and Great Chesterford to London Liverpool Street will go up £40 from £4,260 to £4,300 while the same journey with a London Travelcard will see a £52 increase from £5,404 to £5,456.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We know that nobody likes to pay more to travel by train, especially to get to work, and at 1.1 per cent this is the smallest average increase in fares for six years.

“On average 97p in every pound from fares is spent on trains, staff and other running costs. With passenger numbers doubling in the last 20 years, money from fares now almost covers the railway’s day-to-day 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.

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“As an industry, we are working closer together to deliver better stations, more trains and improved services, and to get more out of every pound we spend.”

Martin Abrams, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We have successfully campaigned for the rise in regulated rail fares to be limited to inflation only, so we are glad to see that being implemented this year.

“However, fares have increased by over 25 per cent in the last five years and passengers still need much more action from train operators and the Government to give them a truly affordable railway.

“While regulated rail fares rises are limited to 1 per cent, some unregulated, walk-on fares, are rising further. 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.”