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New Year commuter misery as rail fares up

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Millions of commuters returning to work today after the festive period have had to fork out more for their train travel.

Commuters have seen rail fares rise by an average of 2.7% from today, with some having to pay three figures more for season tickets.

As an example, a Hove to London Victoria annual season ticket has risen £124 (2.8%) to £4,592 from £4,468 this time last year.

Commuters travelling on East Coast train services from Peterborough to London have been hit with a big £224 increase. The £8,000 annual season ticket now costs £8,224 – up 2.8%.

These fare prices, regulated by the government, were announced in August and are based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July.

However, other unregulated fares set by train companies, such as first-class tickets and advance purchase tickets have also increased.

An off-peak Preston to Manchester ticket on TransPennine services has increased 3% from £16.50 to £17, while Birmingham to Edinburgh on CrossCountry trains has risen from £142.60 to £146.60.

But passengers travelling from Swansea to Cardiff Central will actually see a 15% fall in the price of their ticket. In January 2019 an off-peak ticket cost £11.80 but will now cost £10.

David Sidebottom, director at independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “We speak to thousands of passengers each year and we know that less than half feel they get value for money. After a year of pretty poor performance in some areas passengers just want a consistent day-to-day service they can rely on and a better chance of getting a seat.

“Transport Focus has long called for a fares system that is simple to use, easy to understand and is flexible enough to cater to how people work and travel today.

“As fares rise passengers must make their voice heard and call on operators to deliver a better service. Passengers should claim compensation every time they are delayed to help offset the cost of the fares rise and Make Delay Pay.”