Fares, rail policy and DfT news

02.12.16

Train fares set to rise by average of 2.3% next year

Train fares in Britain will go up by an average of 2.3% from 2 January next year, the rail industry has announced.

The increase covers both regulated fares such as season tickets, which account for 40% of all train journeys, and unregulated fares like off-peak leisure tickets which account for 60%.

While the rise in regulated fares had already been capped at July's Retail Prices Index inflation rate of 1.9%, some unregulated fares face no cap and will therefore rise by considerably more than 2.3%.

Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “We understand how passengers feel when fares go up, and we know that in some places they haven’t always got the service they pay for.

“Around 97p in every pound passengers pay goes back into running and improving services. Fares are influenced by government policy, either through government-regulated fares such as season tickets or as a result of the payments train companies make to government. This money helps government to support the biggest investment in our railway since Victorian times.”

The increase was not welcomed by others within the industry as campaigners, watchdogs and unions criticised the increase.

Lianna Etkind of the Campaign for Better Transport warned that passengers were being ‘priced off the railways’ and accused the government of taking its time to introduce flexible season tickets offering discounts to Britain’s part-time workers.

“The train operating companies and the government need to work closely together to provide fairer, simpler and cheaper fares making sure people are always sold the cheapest ticket available,” Etkind said.

“Between 1995 and 2016 passengers have seen average fares increase by 23.5% and much more needs to be done by train operators and the government to give them a truly affordable railway.”

The 2.3% increase is higher than in 2015 and 2016 but still lower than the recent high at the turn of the decade which saw prices jump up by around 6%.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said that passengers will be “disappointed” by the rise.

“Passengers will now want to see the industry’s investment deliver a more reliable day-to-day railway,” added Smith.

“The government should consider setting rail fare rises around the Consumer Prices Index instead to bring rail fares into line with other recognised measures of inflation.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, called the announcement “another kick in the teeth for British passengers” adding that travellers in the UK paid some of the highest fares in Europe “to travel on rammed out and unreliable trains”.

“Once again the rip-off private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank as they whack up fares and axe staff in all-out dash to maximise their profits,” Cash said.

“This culture of private greed on Britain’s railways has to stop and RMT will step up the fight for a publicly owned railway where services and safety are the priority, not corporate profits.”

Last month London mayor Sadiq Khan called for DfT to freeze fares on suburban London routes, warning of potential fare increases across the network.

(Image: c. Lauren Hurley and PA Wire)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Jerry Alderson   02/12/2016 at 18:55

Using the 40:60 split between regulated and unregulated tickets sold, Railfuture calculated that the average increase of unregulated fares is 2.57% (versus 1.9% for regulated) in order to give an average of 2.3% on 2 Jan 2017. Other Railfuture tweets show the trend over 12 years if RPI+n% of just CPI had been used since Jan 2005. See: 2nd Dec tweets from @Railfuture.

Lee   05/12/2016 at 10:01

I wouldn't mind fare increases to pay for improvements, if said improvements actually appeared. As it is, in my area we will be paying higher fares for new rolling stock to appear in 2019, with Pacers allegedly being taken out of service before then. So we will actually be paying for a worse service for a while. Meanwhile electrification is running late and doesn't seem to be making any visible progress at all. Still the TOC does have a new logo and has managed to re-livery a single class 158 DMU! We are promised Wi-fi and air conditioning but not until 2019 with the arrival of new rolling stock, which replaces older stock, but it is not clear if it will also provide additional capacity and for how long.

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

DfT names five winners of fresh £16m stations fund

28/07/2017DfT names five winners of fresh £16m stations fund

The DfT has today announced the successful bidders for a £16m package, part of the second phase of the New Stations Fund, which will serve ... more >
East Midlands Airport offers £2.5m fund to boost station connections

28/07/2017East Midlands Airport offers £2.5m fund to boost station connections

East Midlands Airport has today offered details of a £2.5m deal designed to improve station services as part of the next franchise in the r... more >
Hitachi Class 800s pass digital signalling testing

28/07/2017Hitachi Class 800s pass digital signalling testing

Hitachi’s new fleet of Intercity Express trains have this week passed testing to run the digital technology required by the DfT. The t... more >

editor's comment

03/07/2017Rapid progress needed

As RTM went to press, the National Infrastructure Commission outlined a list of the ‘top 12’ immediate priorities on which ministers must make rapid progress in the next year. Unsurprisingly, major rail schemes, including HS2, Crossrail 2 and HS3, featured highly in the projects that needed speedy development.  Lord Adonis stated that all of these have been agreed in principle, “but require decisive action to get ... read more >

last word

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, analyses the drivers in performance of passenger satisfaction in tram compared to rail. Results published in our recent Tram Passenger Survey (... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

28/07/2017Londoners given peek at abandoned Mail Rail Underground line

Londoners will soon be able to enjoy a unique rail experience – by riding a train going along the disused Mail Rail line. The 6.5-mile track runs deep under the capital, criss-crossing Tube lines and formerly linking six sorting offices with mainline stations at Liverpool Street and Paddington. At most, the small, electric and drive... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

How can the new government support rail freight?

20/07/2017How can the new government support rail freight?

Following the recent general election, Maggie Simpson, executive director at the Rail Freight Group, considers what action the government can tak... more >
Building a sustainable future for rail services in Wales

20/07/2017Building a sustainable future for rail services in Wales

Geoff Ogden, interim managing director at Transport for Wales (TfW), talks to RTM about how the organisation is putting sustainable development a... more >
A potential benchmark for engineering quality and architectural design

20/07/2017A potential benchmark for engineering quality and architectural design

Victoria Hills, chief executive officer at the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), gives RTM an update on the work to create a... more >
Simple changes for energy efficiency

20/07/2017Simple changes for energy efficiency

Michelle Papayannakos, rail sustainability specialist at the RSSB, argues that improving the way energy is managed should be a high priority for ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

A game changer for Wales and Borders

17/07/2017A game changer for Wales and Borders

Andy Thomas, managing director for Network Rail’s Wales route, describes how the infrastructure owner will work more collaboratively than e... more >