Thousands of rail passengers to be hit by 10 PER CENT increase on season tickets

| August 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Paul Milligan

04:45 EST, 11 August 2012


16:51 EST, 11 August 2012

Rail passengers are set to be hit by inflation-busting increases of 10 per cent on annual season tickets.

July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) will be announced on Tuesday and will form the basis of next year’s fares.  Estimates are it will be around 2.7 per cent.

This will produce average fare increases of 5.7 per cent, under the Government’s rules which allow train companies to raise prices three per cent above RPI.

Rail passengers could be hit with another big increase on fares, this time as much as 10 per cent

Rail passengers could be hit with another big increase on fares, this time as much as 10 per cent

Train companies can push some fares higher than that figure, up 10 per cent for example, by exploiting a loophole which means it is acceptable as long as they reduce the level of increases on other routes.

What the train companies have done in the past is to raise prices on routes where commuters have no alternative train services, and put smaller increases on routes where other train companies run competing timetables.

A 10 per cent rise would see commuters hit hard in major cities across the UK. For example someone commuting from Brighton to London on the train would see an increase of more than £400 a year, from £4,020 now to £4,422.

An annual season ticket from Edinburgh to Glasgow would cost an extra £338, up from £3,380 to £3,718.

A season ticket holder from Reading to London would now pay £4,180 instead of £4,009 at the moment.

Such a steep rise in fares, at a time when household budgets are so tight has inevitably caused great anger.

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said that Transport Secretary Justine Greening ‘seems determined to turn her predecessor Philip Hammond’s flippant remark about rail now being a rich man’s toy into firm reality’.

He said: ‘Passengers already pay 60 per cent of all rail funding through the fares box and now they are being forced to pay even more. Motorists don’t fund new roads and air passengers don’t fund new airports. Why are rail passengers being singled out?’

Transport Secretary Justine Greening is trying to get the Treasury to cap the rises to the Retail Price Index plus one per cent, but her plan seems likely to fail

Transport Secretary Justine Greening is trying to get the Treasury to cap the rises to the Retail Price Index plus one per cent, but her plan seems likely to fail

Anthony Smith, of the Passenger Focus consumer watchdog said: ‘With the economy flat-lining and passengers’ belts being further tightened, we would urge the Government to accept that these are exceptional times and repeat last year’s capping of fares at RPI plus one per cent.

‘We also want them to reduce the flexibility train companies have to increase certain routes by more than the overall average.’

Miss Greening is trying to persuade the Treasury to limit the 2013 rise to RPI plus one per cent, as she did last year. But it is believed a similar move by the rail industry is unlikely this time.

Greening has defended the rises saying: ‘To make life better for passengers, the Coalition Government is delivering a massive programme of rail improvements.’

She has just announced a £9 billion investment plan in the rail network, which is to be part-funded by ticket increases.

The Government wants passengers to pay 75 per cent of the investment costs by 2014 compared to 50 per cent two years ago. 

The Department of Transport responded to the story by saying the formula for fares was set out last year. It said: ‘It is a rise of RPI plus one per cent this year and RPI plus three per cent in 2013 and 2014 before returning to RPI plus one cent.’


Route: Brighton to London

Current price: £4,020. 10% rise: £4,422 up £402

Edinburgh to Glasgow

Current price: £3,380. 10% rise: £3,718 up £338

Swansea to Cardiff

Current Price: £1,468. 10% rise: £1,614 up £146

Preston to Manchester

Current price: £2,496. 10% rise: £2,745 up £249

Canterbury to London

Current price: £4,588. 10% rise: £5,046 up £458

Northampton to London

Current price: £4,756. 10% rise: £5,231 up £475

York to Leeds

Current Price: £1,972. 10% rise: £2,169 up £197

Reading to London

Current price: £3,800. 10% rise: £4,180 up £380

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts,
or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Can we have a 10% increase in service quality and cleanliness of trains? At least 10%!!!!!!!

Yet again they continue to milk, nay, rip-off, a captive market. One day this country will get wise and stop trying to make quick, short-term profits at the expense of longer-term stability and growth…. But it won’t be in my life-time. The greed displayed here is unacceptable, but with this government setting the standards, I don’t seriously expect anything different.

Rip off Britain doing what it does best. Of course nobody will do SODD all about it

I will never get a train again . On Wednesday I wanted a single ticket from Milton Keynes central to Leeds one way , “that will be £87.50 sir ‘ wow “no “I said “only one way” , he replied “that is one way it’s £88.50 if you want to return” …. So that’s £87.50 there and a quid back ?thinking I should have bought it and sold it in Leeds . But never again.and they wonder why people are in there cars !!

This is a very good move for the share holders.

I drive everywhere.

This must be the ‘Private Sector expertise’ politicians bang on about?
Which means in real terms sky high unaffordable prices for users….

I know how difficult it will be on each individual, but the only way to show these greedy shareholders and the government how strongly we the British people feel, is to take action! Of course a strongly worded letter could be sent to the Transport Secretary with the rail companies cc’d in on it. Or, and this is the difficult one, everyone who uses trains on a regular basis should NOT use them on a particular day, leave ALL the trains empty and let’s see how this affects the greedy companies. Of course the people who already have their season tickets, I would suggest they don’t renew them, the rail companies will be ‘projecting’ their profits on the sale of these tickets. Maybe New Labour supporting Trade Union Leaders can co-ordinate? On second thought, they wouldn’t want to bite the hands that feed them would they? Hit the Capitalists where it hurts!

- Marcus, Northamptonshire, 12/8/2012 01:49: What about now, does the ticket cost £90? If you using public transport in the example you are quoting, you;ve got more money than sense!

The joys of Privatisation!!!!! Return the whole lot to British Rail,—-Idiots! Public transport should be cheap to get cars off overcrowded roads,Where on earth did COMMON SENSE go??.

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