Sharp increase in rail ticket prices in UK

Sharp increase in rail ticket prices in UK

Rail fares have gone up by an average of 3.4 per cent in the UK, the highest increase in five years.

While protests are planned across the country in opposition to the rise, the department for transport argued increases were capped in line with inflation.

Season tickets on commuter routes are now more expensive include Liverpool to Manchester (up £108 to £3,152) and Maidenhead to London (up £104 to £3,092).

Fare increases to regulated fares are calculated using the Retail Prices Index figures from the previous July.

Nearly half of all rail ticket prices are calculated using this measure.

However, some passengers have complained they are being priced out of the market.

“Fuel duty for motorists has been frozen for seven years now, but not rail fares, which have risen by more than 30 per cent in that same period,” said Bruce Williamson of the campaign group Railfuture.

“The government is showing undeniable bias against the rail traveller and driving people onto our ever more congested and polluted roads.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Fares are rising faster than most people’s wages so they are taking a larger slice of their income.

“It looks like people are being priced out of getting to work.”

Williamson urged the government to use the lower Consumer Price Index figure to calculate increases.

The RPI figure for July 2017, which is used as the basis for rail fare increases, was 3.6 per cent, while the CPI figure was 2.6 per cent.

Williamson continued: “If CPI had been used instead of RPI since 2004, then rail fares would be 17 per cent lower, a significant amount of money for season ticket holders who are spending thousands of pounds to get to work.

“The public deserves to get value from these fares in the form of much better customer service, clearer ticket choices, better punctuality and reliability, more seats, and more frequent services when and where people wish to travel.”

In defence of the new prices, Paul Plummer, chief executive of industry trade body the Rail Delivery Group, said the changes would provide cash for better services and investment, including the Thameslink and Great Northern rail upgrades.

“For every pound paid in fares, 97p goes directly back to operating and improving services,” he said.

Plummer continued: “Working together in partnership across the industry and with government our long-term plan to improve will secure £85 billion of additional economic benefits while enabling further investment and improvement for customers, communities and our people.

“Over the next 18 months alone the country will see an unprecedented transformation in rail services, including dramatic improvements across the Thameslink network and through the Great North Rail Project.”