Commuters can now expect to pay an average of 4.2% more for their season tickets, while general rail passengers will notice a 3.9% overall increase in ticket prices across Scotland, England and Wales.
The TUC claims that train fares have been rising three times faster than average income since 2008.
Some rail fares (season and off-peak tickets) are calculated using the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, as well as additional percentage.
Originally this equated to 6.2% (RPI plus 3%) but the government was forced to intervene to ensure fare rises were capped at 4.2%.
However, this hasn’t prevented price hikes of over £400 in some parts of the country, and Labour has criticised the current government for misleading commuters over promises to adequately reduce rail fares.
The most hard-hit customers will be those hoping to buy a season ticket between Banbury and London. This year they will be paying £436 more than last year, a shocking increase of 9.2%.
Passengers travelling between London and Birmingham have got away with only a £2.50 price hike, while those buying a season ticket between Shenfield, Essex, and London, will be £16 richer after a 0.6% drop.
Two consumer protection groups, Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and Railfuture, have recently calculated that some fares across the UK have risen by more than 50% in the last 10 years – an increase that CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph has branded as “truly shocking”.
“We have deliberately made getting the train to work an extravagance that many struggle to afford. The time has come not just to stop the rises but to reduce fares,” he said.
Sustrans, charity for sustainable transport, warns that train journeys are becoming increasingly unaffordable for families – forcing them to either spend money on a car, or stay put.
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