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ORR: Rail fares rise below inflation for second successive year

Rail fares have risen below inflation for the second year in a row, new statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) have today revealed.

The news follows a radical overhaul of ticketing that was introduced at the start of February to end the need for ‘split ticketing’ by offering passengers a best-value end to end through fare.

On average, rail fares in Britain increased by 1.2% in January 2017 compared with a 2.6% rise in the Retail Prices Index, representing a decrease in real terms of 1.4%.

The average change in the price of regulated and unregulated fares between January 2016 and January 2017 was found to be 1.8% and 0.8% respectively, as regulated fares increased below the cap set by the government of 1.9% in July 2016.

Anytime and off-peak tickets account for over 54% of revenue and they recorded the highest increase in fares among all ticket types, increasing by 2.1% and 2.0% respectively.

In terms of ticket type, the only ticket type which saw a decrease was advance tickets, where average prices fell by 2.3% from January 2016.

When looking at the data by type of travel, it was found that long distance journeys had only gone up by 0.5% since 2016, whilst London and the south east recorded a 1.5% rise.

Since 1995, the ORR reported huge real-terms rises in ticket prices. On average, fares had increased by 121.3% between 1995 and 2017.

Advance fares account for the largest proportion of tickets sold and the average price paid for those fell by 3.5%. This helped to curb the overall increase despite all other ticket types in this sector reporting an increase.

Accounting for 45.9% of all revenue, the London and south east sector is the main driver of overall price change, followed by the long distance sector which accounts for 39.4% of all revenue. However, between January 2016 and 2017 fare increases of 2.1% in the Regional sector outstripped the increases in London and south east (1.5%) and long distance (0.5%) sectors.

Top Image: Lauren Hurley, PA wire

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Andrew Gwilt   30/03/2017 at 22:01

Suppose that's just after the Article 50 that the Prime Minister Teresa May has signed and the UK is leaving the UK would cause the rise of ticket prices ect. Even though I did vote to leave the EU. But hopefully the railway industry is still going after the UK has left the EU. #Brexit

Jerry Alderson   31/03/2017 at 13:34

I am utterly confused by this claim from ORR that fares increased by only 1.2%. The RDG told us that the average fare increase in January would be 2.3%. The regulated ones increased by 1.9% (RPI rate in July 2016) meaning that the average unregulated fare rose by around 2.6%. If the industry (ORR and RDG) cannot agree on the same figure then we are in a mess. The RDG figures are based on predicted revenue from the increase i.e. the sum of each fare x quantity soid. This equates to the amount passengers are paying, so it is a fair measure. Could it be that ORR is simply averaging fare increases without considering volume? Not sure. Can anyone figure this out? Finally, comparing against the year-to-January RPI rate is a bit spurious given that rail increases are based on the RPI rate six months earlier, so comparing apples with oranges.

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