The cost of getting to work by train will rise again in a few months’ time, with regulated train fares set to rise 2.8% on January 2.
That’s because the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments base the annual rise in regulated fares – which include season tickets – on July’s Retail Prices Index of inflation.
The 2.8% increase will add £150 to the cost of some routes.
The news comes as the Rail, Maritime and Transport union holds protests outside more than 30 stations across Britain, urging Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to renationalise the railways.
Mick Cash, general secretary of the union, said passengers have “had enough of being ripped off by the private rail companies’ profiteering”.
Shapps said that, as someone who gets to work by train himself, he wasn’t too happy about it either.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: “I’m not delighted by it to be perfectly honest, as a train commuter.
“The truth is we do now have a situation where average wages are going up faster than inflation, so if you don’t keep this tracking with inflation you are actually effectively putting less money into transport and less money into trains and you won’t get them running on time doing that either.”
Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said 98p in every £1 spent in fares goes back into running the railway.
A 2.8% rise in season ticket prices would lead to an increase of more than £100 in the annual cost of getting to work for many commuters.
In terms of specific journeys, this is what the rise would add:
- Brighton to London: Increase of £125 to £4,581
- Gloucester to Birmingham: Increase of £119 to £4,357
- Barrow-in-Furness to Preston: Increase of £117 to £4,285
- Edinburgh to Glasgow: Increase of £114 to £4,198
- Colchester to London: Increase of £153 to £5,411
Rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road said regulated fares went up by an average of 2.8% in January 2019, following the July 2018 RPI figure of 3.2%.
Rail fares rise 2019
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) worked out that rail fares have increased at twice the speed of wages since 2009.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “another hefty fare increase” is the last thing passengers needs.
“We’re already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to travel on overcrowded and understaffed trains,” he said.
“It’s time to take the railways back into public hands. Every single penny from every single fare should be invested into our railways. This would free up money for much-needed upgrades and lower ticket prices.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It’s tempting to say fares should never rise, but the truth is that if we stop investing in our railway then we’ll never see it improved.”
Rail Delivery Group director Robert Nisbet said: “No one wants to pay more to get to work but by holding rises down to no more than inflation, Government is ensuring that money from fares continues to cover almost all of the day-to-day costs of running rail services.
“This means private sector and taxpayer money can go towards improving services for the long term.”