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Rail fares to rise by 2.8 per cent next year

Written by: Emma Lunn
Annual season tickets will rise by £100 for many commuters, prompting critics to warn that passengers might simply refuse to pay.

Rail users will be hit by a further rise in ticket prices next year, despite months of disruption and delays.

The 2.8 per cent increase is based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July. The figure will to lead to an increase of more than £100 in the annual cost of getting to work for many commuters, pushing the cost of the average season ticket to more than £3,000 for the first time while some commuters will fork out well over £4,000.

Passenger groups have urged a change in the way ticket prices are calculated, as RPI is no longer a recognised national statistic. There are calls for rail fares to be linked to the lower CPI measure instead, which is 2.1 per cent this year.

Bruce Williamson, spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, said: “It might be that we’ve now reached the point where we cannot simply put fares up and expect passengers to take the hit. They will just give up and refuse to pay. They will either find either another job or another form of transport.”

Rail fares have increased at twice the speed of wages since 2009, according to calculations by the TUC. Rail fares have risen by 46 per cent over the past 10 years, while nominal weekly earnings have only grown by 23 per cent. TUC analysis published in January showed that UK commuters spend up to five times more of their salary on rail fares than other European passengers.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Things are bad enough when services are running normally. We’re being crammed onto trains: in the morning rush hour almost a quarter of passengers arriving in London have been standing. And we’re facing agonising delays: a study last year found 41 per cent of people had been delayed by at least half an hour in the previous six months.

“And it’s been a while since things were running normally. In the past few weeks alone everything from hot weather to storms, floods, power cuts and signal failure have left passengers stranded and furious. It begs the question of just how stressful commuting is going to get if the weather becomes more extreme.”

However, there is some good news for rail passengers aged 16 and 17. The government has announced the new 16-17 Saver guaranteeing half-price travel for young people in England and Wales.

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