Rail fares set to rise by 3.5% next year

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

RAIL com­muters are being warned to ex­pect rail faires to rise by 3.5% next year. This would in­crease the an­nual cost of get­ting to work for many long-dis­tance trav­ellers by more than £150.

The ex­act fig­ure though, will be con­firmed on Wed­nes­day this week when the July Re­tail Prices In­dex (RPI) is re­leased by the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics.

How­ever, econ­o­mists both pre­dict the fig­ure will rise by 3.5%.

The Depart­ment for Trans­port (DfT) uses July’s RPI to de­ter­mine the an­nual in­crease in reg­u­lated train fares, which comes into force every Jan­uary.

Reg­u­lated fares in­clude sea­son tick­ets on com­muter routes, some off-peak re­turns on long jour­neys and Any­time tick­ets around ma­jor cities.

A Cam­paign for Bet­ter Trans­port spokesman urged the Gov­ern­ment to “com­mit to a fares freeze”. He said: “Given a lack of im­prove­ments and the fail­ure to de­liver com­pen­sa­tion, the Gov­ern­ment can­not go on say­ing that fare in­creases are jus­ti­fied.”

In Jan­uary the gover­nor of the Bank of Eng­land, Mark Car­ney, said RPI has “no merit”, adding that “vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one recog­nises” the al­ter­na­tive Con­sumer Prices In­dex (CPI). Rail cam­paign­ers want CPI to be used to de­ter­mine reg­u­lated fare in­creases, as it is gen­er­ally lower than RPI.

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