15:31 02 January 2013
Railway passengers have been hit by a 4.2per cent rise, which affects season ticket holders, as part of the yearly price increase. After first being announced in Autumn 2012, commuters will now have to pay the extra costs following the Christmas and New Year period.
The price of train tickets has risen by 3.9per cent for England, Scotland and Wales, although fares do vary with each train company. This will include off-peak ticket prices for intercity services that are also in operation.
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) looks to the inflation rate when regulating rail prices, and in October it was stated the rise would be RPI plus 1per cent, meaning an increase of 4.2per cent.
Under the government’s instruction, train operators are to review the price of season tickets each year bearing in mind the rate of inflation. This action has now been in effect for nearly ten years.
Rail passengers wishing to travel between London and Banbury for example, will see around a £430 price increase on an annual ticket. This is nearing a 10per cent rise, which is similar to the percentage increase for a return ticket from London to Birmingham.
The general secretary of TUC, Frances O'Grady, said: “As well as having to shell out record amounts of money for their tickets, passengers also face the prospect of travelling on trains with fewer staff and having less access to ticket offices. They are being asked to pay much more for less.”
The government has been criticised by Labour on this front, as Labour say train companies have introduced non-regulated ticket prices.
Although Transport Minister Norman Baker commented that David Cameron’s government has looked at the situation to make sure rail price increases were around 4per cent.
He said: “We are engaged in the biggest rail investment programme since the 19th century and it is only right that the passenger, as well as the taxpayer, contributes towards that.
“In the longer term we are determined to reduce the cost of running the railways so we can end the era of above inflation fare rises.”
It is understood that the countries rail plans are to make savings in the next six years of around £3.5billion. It is thought that this could mean reducing staff numbers in the future with regards to train services.
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