Trains may be crowded and late… but fares are still rising by up to 10%!Average fares have soared by more than 26 per cent since start of recessionSome commuters are paying 5,000 a year just to go to work
UK has the highest ticket prices in Europe with some fares ten times the price of the equivalent on the Continent
01:23 GMT, 31 December 2012
Train travellers face fare rises of up to 10 per cent from this week – despite damning evidence of overcrowding and poor punctuality.
The Railfuture campaign group says season tickets will increase by an average of 4.2 per cent on Wednesday, the tenth above-inflation increase in a row.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) says the overall average rise, including non-season tickets, will be 3.9 per cent, but with some non-season-ticket fares allowed to be increased by an unlimited amount, Railfuture said tickets could go up by 10 per cent.
Price increase: Train travellers face fare rises of up to 10 per cent from this week
Average train fares have soared by more than 26 per cent since the start of the recession – almost three times faster than wages, according to analysis by campaigners. Some commuters are paying 5,000 a year just to get to work.
The Campaign for Better Transport says the UK has the highest train fares in Europe, with some UK tickets almost ten times the price of equivalent fares on the Continent.
Rail bosses have been accused of ‘spinning’ the full extent of the rises and ‘burying bad news’ by insisting the average increase would be 3.9 per cent.
So-called ‘unregulated fares’, which include some off-peak trips, can be raised to any figure train companies choose. Many of these will far exceed the 3.9 per cent ‘average’ rise – with some soaring nearly 10 per cent.
Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson said: ‘Yet again, rail fares go up with no perceptible improvement in service.
Expensive: Average train fares have soared by more than 26 per cent since the start of the recession – almost three times faster than wages
‘Over the last ten years, fares have increased by more than 50 per cent – much more than people’s incomes.
‘Meanwhile, petrol tax is frozen and overall the cost of driving remains static. How does this help persuade people out of their cars and ease congestion Where is the green policy’
Train passengers have endured widespread disruption, cancellations and delays over Christmas and New Year – as well as pleas by rail bosses not to travel unless absolutely necessary – caused by a combination of flooding, weather and engineering works.
And damning government figures published this month named and shamed the most crammed ‘cattle-class’ services.
Bad service: Train passengers have had to put up with widespread disruption, cancellations and delays (file picture)
New ‘real time’ punctuality figures have also shown that the worst-performing train companies are running fewer than half their services on time. This year regulated fares, which include season tickets, can be increased by the retail price index (RPI) inflation rate in July plus one percentage point. This gives the average figure of 4.2 per cent.
Mr Williamson said: ‘Annual increases should be limited to no more than the rate of inflation, and that should be the consumer price index (CPI) not RPI, because that’s the lower figure and pensions benefits and salaries are all linked to CPI.’
From Wednesday, fares are also going up by an average of 4.2 per cent on the London Underground and buses.
Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘Investment on the transport network will help us to provide faster, more frequent and reliable journeys for Londoners and is crucial to economic development and growth.’