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