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Commuters hit with 6% rail fare hikes

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Commuters heading to work this morning will see train ticket prices up by an average 5.9%.

Season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long distance journeys and anytime tickets around major cities rose by an average 5.9% from Sunday 5 March.

As this is an average, it means for those starting the working week today, some will see train ticket price hikes, others will pay the same, while others will actually see the cost fall.

However, commuters could have been paying a lot more and sooner, if the Government hadn’t stepped in to curb fares.

Around 45% of rail fares are ‘regulated’ which means the price is controlled by the Government.

Train fares usually go up in January each year, using a formula of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation from the previous July plus 1%.

But in December, the Government said the regulated rail fare increases for 2023 would be capped at 5.9%, the figure for average earnings growth in July 2022, well below the RPI figure of 12.3%.

The planned rise would also be pushed back to March so that passengers had more time to buy tickets at the existing prices.

At the time of the announcement, the Government described its move as the ‘biggest intervention ever to keep rail fares down’.

‘No one likes prices going up’

Transport Focus director, David Sidebottom, said: “No one likes prices going up. In our latest research, less than half of passengers think the railway currently performs well on delivering value for money tickets.

“After months of unreliable services and strike disruption, it’s clear that too many passengers are not getting a value for money service. Capping fares below inflation and the delay until March have gone some way to help ease the pain, but the need for more fundamental reform of fares and ticketing must not be forgotten.

“More initiatives like the welcome extension of Pay-As-You-Go and single-leg pricing trials cannot arrive a minute too soon.”

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