Personal Finance

Anger as rail fares to increase by 2.3%

Commuter campaign groups and trade unions are up in arms after the government announced rail fares will increase by an average of 2.3 per cent next year.

In August, it was revealed the maximum increase for regulated fares, covering most peak time journeys and season tickets, would be 1.9 per cent. 

These rises are capped at one per cent above the annual rate consumer price inflation for the previous July, which was running at 0.9 per cent.

However, unregulated fares, covering the majority of off-peak journeys, are not covered by that cap – and the average increase implies some “are likely to rise by considerably more than 2.3 per cent”, says the BBC.

Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “We understand how passengers feel when fares go up and we know that in some places they haven’t always got the service they pay for.

“Around 97p in every pound passengers pay goes back into running and improving services… This money helps government to support the biggest investment in our railway since Victorian times.”

Commuter groups were unimpressed, however.

Lianna Etkind of the Campaign for Better Transport said passengers were “finding themselves priced off the railways”, adding that between “1995 and 2016, passengers have seen average fares increase by 23.5 per cent”.

She continued: “The train operating companies and the government need to work closely together to provide fairer, simpler and cheaper fares making sure people are always sold the cheapest ticket available.”

Mick Cash, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said the announcement was “another kick in the teeth for British passengers”.

The government also revealed it will provide a £15m compensation package to long-suffering Southern rail commuters over frequent cancellations and delays.

“Season ticket holders will be able to claim a refund for the equivalent of a month’s travel. Passengers with an annual ticket will be able to claim the one-off payout against their 2016 ticket,” says The Guardian.

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