Rail fares for season ticket holders have increased by an average of 4.2% as the annual price hike, announced in August, comes into effect.
Overall, ticket prices have gone up by 3.9% in England, Wales and Scotland, but rises vary between train operators.
The TUC has claimed average train fares have risen nearly three times faster than average incomes since 2008.
Transport minister Norman Baker said the government had intervened to ensure fare rises were capped at about 4%.
“Regulated” rail fare increases – which include season tickets for most commuter journeys and off-peak fares on most intercity routes – are calculated by using the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation plus an additional percentage.
Examples of rail fare increases
Since 2003, London commuters have seen:
- Average season ticket costs increase by £1,300
- Fares increasing 20% faster than wages
- Average costs in real terms increasing by £360
Outside of London, rail users have faced:
- Annual fares from Ashford International in Kent to London have risen by more than £2,000
- Fares from Sevenoaks in Kent to London have increased by nearly 90%, from £1,660 to £3,112
- Commuters travelling between Worcester and Birmingham Moor Street will pay £1,240 for a season ticket compared with £816 in 2003, an increase of 52%
SOURCE: Campaign for Better Transport
Initially the rail fare increase was set at RPI plus 3% – a total of 6.2% – but this was reduced to RPI plus 1% by the government in October to a total of about 4.2%.
Train companies are allowed to vary regulated fares by up to 5% above, or by any amount below, the average change in regulated fares, so that they can respond to changes in demand in particular areas.
Fares that go up by more than the average must be balanced by others that rise by less than the average, or that fall.
In developments across the UK:
- In London, passengers on the Tube, buses, trams, DLR and commuter trains face on average a 4.2% increase, while some rail season tickets have gone up by much more
- An off-peak day return between Bristol and St Austell in Cornwall has risen in price from £53.10 to £75.60 – a rise of 40%
- The cost of an annual ticket from Banbury to London has risen by 5.98%, an increase of £284, according to Chiltern Railways
- An unregulated return between Birmingham and London went up by 10%, although it only adds £2.50 to the fare
- Some tickets will rise by as little as 2.3% while one ticket, from Shenfield, Essex, to London will be £16 cheaper, at £2,704, a 0.6% drop.
Labour has said it would impose a “strict” cap on future rail fare rises, and has accused the government of misleading commuters over promises to limit them.
via BBC News