Rise in rail fares will push av­er­age cost of sea­son ticket above £3,000

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Harry Yorke and Adam Williams

COM­MUTERS will face rail fare in­creases of al­most 3 per cent in the new year, with the av­er­age sea­son ticket hit­ting £3,000 for the first time, an anal­y­sis sug­gests.

Rail fares in­crease at the start of Jan­uary each year, and un­der Gov­ern­ment pol­icy are capped at the retail prices in­dex (RPI) rate of in­fla­tion from the pre­vi­ous July.

The Of­fice of Na­tional Sta­tis­tics (ONS) is to­day ex­pected to con­firm RPI at be­tween 2.7 and 3 per cent.

While train com­pa­nies are un­der no obli­ga­tion to in­crease their prices to meet the cap, the ma­jor­ity have done so in re­cent years.

Com­pared with the con­sumer price in­dex (CPI), which has been run­ning at 1.9 per cent, it rep­re­sents an above-in­fla­tion in­crease for rail pas­sen­gers.

Ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by Labour, which has com­pared fares on 183 train routes across the coun­try, com­muters can now ex­pect to be pay­ing up to £3,067 for their sea­son ticket, up from £2,980 last year.

The rise is likely to come de­spite Grant Shapps, the new Trans­port Sec­re­tary, ex­press­ing con­cerns that “train punc­tu­al­ity” had de­clined over re­cent years, in­fu­ri­at­ing com­muters.

Labour claims that an­other 2.9 per cent in­crease would mean that fares have risen by 40 per cent since 2010, with the high­est in­crease pro­jected to be a Vir­gin Trains sea­son ticket be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Lon­don Eus­ton, which is ex­pected to cost £10,902.

The TUC fig­ures show that fares have in­creased twice as fast as wages and come on the back of a re­port ear­lier this year show­ing that Bri­tish com­muters spend up to five times more than other Euro­pean pas­sen­gers.

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