Rail fares up 3.8% today
Commuters have today been hit with a 3.8% increase in regulated rail fares, including season tickets and some off-peak return tickets on long distance journeys.
According to the industry body, Rail Delivery Group, today’s rise is the steepest since January 2013.
Until the pandemic, fares were raised in January each year by a formula based on the RPI rate of inflation from the previous July figure, plus 1%.
But in December, the Department for Transport announced it would cap rail fares to just the RPI rate of 3.8%.
It would also push back the implementation date to March to give passengers more time to purchase cheaper flexible and season tickets at the existing rate.
The current RPI rate stands at 7.8%.
Taxpayers have already invested more than £14bn to keep services running during the pandemic. The government said the rise will help meet some of these costs and will also help pay for the service increases and improvements on many lines.
To further support those returning to trains, the ‘Book with Confidence’ scheme was also extended. This means that until 31 March 2022, passengers can change their travel plans up until the evening before departure without being charged a fee, or cancel their tickets completely and receive refunds in the form of rail vouchers.
Commuters are also able to buy flexible season tickets which offers regular passengers the potential to save hundreds of pounds and far greater flexibility for those travelling two or three days a week.