London's rail passengers found out today that their fares will go up in 2015 by 3.5%, following the announcement of July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure.
The rise is set by adding 1% to the July RPI figure, but some train operators could raise fares on more expensive commuter routes (i.e. routes into London) by an additional 2%, giving an increase of 5.5%. The RPI has actually fallen in July from 1.9% to 1.6%.
Let's take a look at some previous inflation-led fare increases. In 2012 the increase was 8% , while by 2013 it went up by 6.2% but back down for 2014 at 4.1%. The reason for the lower than usual rise in 2014 was the decision by chancellor George Osborne to knock the +1% off and cap it at RPI. We didn't expect such a generous concession for 2015, though we lived in hope.
The fare increases have once again sparked protest at the high cost of commuting in the capital. Shadow minister for transport Mary Creagh said:
“David Cameron has failed to stand up for working people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. He's allowed train companies to sting passengers with inflation-busting fare rises of over 20% since 2010, costing them hundreds of pounds.
“Our rail fares are among the highest in Europe. Rail passengers rightly feel ripped off when they are uncertain if they paid the lowest fare.”
The London Assembly Labour group have suggested that today's inflation figures mean that London transport fare rises for January 2015 are likely to be:
- Bus and Tram Pay as You Go – up to £1.50
- PAYG TfL Rail Services Zone 1 – up to £2.28
- Zone 1-2 monthly Travelcard – up to £124.82
- Zone 1-3 monthly Travelcard – up to £146.35
- Zone 1-4 annual travelcard – up to £1,863
Calling on London Mayor Boris Johnson to step up and keep fares down for commuters, London Assembly Labour transport spokesperson, Val Shawcross said:
“It will feel like groundhog day for commuters who, for the sixth time since Boris Johnson became Mayor, will face another round of above-inflation fare rises next January. Yet again Johnson just hasn't been straight with Londoners. He pledged to keep fares low, but is set to oversee a 42% rise in fares since becoming Mayor, that's 17.5% higher than inflation over the six years.
“Instead of accepting another year of inflation busting fare rises the Mayor should be standing up for hard pressed Londoners and scrapping his plans for another inflation busting rise.”
Commuters using Southeastern routes into London Bridge are likely to feel especially aggrieved by fare increases — work on Thameslink will mean some services not stopping at the station until 2016.