Published on : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The new-year rise means fares will have increased over this Parliament by just below 25%, according to the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).
The increase, determined by the RPI inflation figure, means that rail fares are soaring four times faster than wages, which only soared by 0.6% in the three months to June.
Train companies also have a “flex” rule which allows them to raise some regulated fares by 2% above the average as long the overall average remains at the RPI plus 1% level. This means some fares could go by around 5.5% in the new year.
Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh warned of a further rise of 24 per cent by 2018 should the Conservatives stay in power.
July’s RPI inflation figure, on which the January rise in season tickets is based, fell from 2.6% to 2.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The current annual price-rise formula is for regulated fares, which include season tickets, to rise by the rate of RPI plus 1%, which will see average fares going up around 3.5% with RPI slipping to 2.5%.
Chancellor George Osborne is expected to come under pressure to limit the incoming rail fare rise, after keeping the average increase this year to 3.1% in his last Autumn Statement.
Speaking on the hike, 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.
“We can’t go on like this. The choice facing passengers is between fares rising another 24% by 2018 under the Tories, or a Labour government which will cap annual fares on every route and enact the biggest railway reforms since the Tories’ botched privatisation, delivering a better deal for passengers and taxpayers.”
CBT public transport campaigner Martin Abrams said: “With people’s wages stagnating and in some cases falling, the expense of taking the train to work has become a huge part of living costs.
“If the Government doesn’t put an end to above-inflation fare increases quickly, ordinary commuters will be priced off the train.”
Unions comprising the TUC’s campaign group Action for Rail are holding demonstrations on Monday at rail stations across the country.