Rail passengers to get first signs of next year’s likely fare increases

Greater Anglia's new "Stadler Flirt" Intercity trains due to enter service in two years' time. Pictu

Greater Anglia's new "Stadler Flirt" Intercity trains due to enter service in two years' time. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA. - Credit: Archant

The first indication of likely rail fare rises next year should become clear today when the inflation figure for July is published.

Paul Plummer of the Rail Delivery Group. Picture: RDG

Paul Plummer of the Rail Delivery Group. Picture: RDG - Credit: Archant

But there has already been a call for the government to freeze fare increases to reflect the difficult journeys faced by many travellers over recent years.

The government fixes increases for regulated fares at the increase in the Retail Price Index (RPI) for July. That is due to be published today. It does not mean all fares have to be exactly the same as the rate – but the average rise cannot exceed that figure.

The exact fare rises are expected to be announced during the late autumn and will come into effect at the start of 2018.

The Campaign for Better Transport said fares should be frozen to reflect the reliability problems faced by passengers for many years.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the campaign, said: “This rise will be the highest since 2013 and will leave many commuters struggling to meet the cost of their commute next year.

“That’s why we want the Government to bring in a fares freeze for January; it’s frozen fuel duty for the last seven years and we think rail fares should be given the same treatment.”

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However Greater Anglia said the increases were needed because of the investment in the rail network.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: “Fare prices linked to the Retail Price Index are set by the Government, these include season ticket prices and standard day returns.

“Greater Anglia can set the price of some unregulated fares including Advance singles – such as Ipswich to London for £10, and special offers. We have a price promise available through our website, where customers are guaranteed the lowest fare available or we refund the difference.

“We are currently investing huge amounts of money in the railway in East Anglia, including £1.4 billion replacing every single train with brand new trains due to come into service from 2019 and £60 million on stations.”

And Paul Plummer, from the national Rail Delivery Group, said: “Money from fares pays to run and improve the railway, making journeys better, boosting the economy, creating skilled jobs and supporting communities across Britain, and politicians set increases to season tickets.”