The largest price hike in rail fares in over ten years is due to add more strain to train passengers’ pockets this week – despite record levels of poor reliability.
Train Fares in England and Wales are set to rise by up to 5.9%, adding hundreds of pounds to the annual cost of many season tickets.
This year’s annual fares rise is the steepest since a 6.1% increase across the UK in 2012, according to a PA news agency analysis of Office of Rail and Road (ORR) data. In March last year, rail fares increased across England and Wales by an average of 3.8%.
ORR data has shown that the equivalent of one in 25 train services has been cancelled this year, representing the worst reliability in records dating back to 2014. Separate research by the watchdog Transport Focus shows fewer than half of passengers think they get good value for their fares.
Transport Focus’s chief executive, Anthony Smith, said: “After months of unreliable services and strike disruption, it’s clear that too many passengers are not getting a value-for-money service.
“Capping fares below inflation and the delay until March have gone some way to help ease the pain, but the need for more fundamental reform of fares and ticketing must not be forgotten.”
Potential increases in ticket prices based on a 5.9% rise include:
- Annual season tickets from Woking to London rising from £3,664 to £3,880
- Anytime day single ticket from Liverpool to Leeds increasing from £39.90 to £42.25.
- Off-peak return from Birmingham to Cardiff hiked from £67.30 to £71.27
Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said: “This savage fare hike will be a sick joke for millions reliant on the Conservative’s broken rail system.
“People already facing soaring taxes and bills will now be clobbered with an eye-watering rise in the cost of the daily commute.”
Norman Baker, director of external affairs at lobby group Campaign for Better Transport and a former Lib Dem transport minister, said: “Pressing ahead with the largest fare rise in a decade will do nothing to encourage more people to take the train or help people struggling to meet rising travel costs.
“This rise is especially frustrating given the cuts to fuel duty and air passenger duty.”
A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “The government’s decision to hold fares down below current inflation is understandable. It is important that fares are set at a level that is appropriate for both the industry and its customers.”