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Train fares to rise 2% but there’s some good news for Southern passengers

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Train fares are set to rise by an average of 2.3% in the new year – the largest increase in three years, but Southern passengers hit by major disruption are set to receive compensation.

Rail industry leaders have confirmed from 2 January 2017, the average overall increase in national rail fares will be 2.3%.

This applies to unregulated fares which aren’t overseen by the government; instead they’re set by train companies and include first class tickets and advance purchase tickets.

See’s Rail fares rise twice as fast as wages and will climb further next year to find out how much regulated fares will rise by in January.

While the rail industry said not all unregulated fares will increase; some may go up, some will stay the same and some will actually reduce in price, this is the largest average increase since January 2014 when average prices increased by 2.8%.

Last year, rail passengers saw one of the smallest increases of 1.1%, last seen in January 2010.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “We understand how passengers feel when fares go up, and we know that in some places they haven’t always got the service they pay for. Around 97p in every pound passengers pay goes back into running and improving services.”

Southern passengers to receive compensation

The Department for Transport today announced that tens of thousands of Southern passengers are to receive the equivalent of a month’s travel for the “extraordinary disruption” they have suffered this year.

More than 84,000 passengers who suffered long delays, cancellation and disruption in recent months owing to track failures, engineering works and poor performance will receive the one-off compensations payment. Passengers with a Brighton to London annual season ticket, for example, will get £371 back.

Season ticket holders will be able to claim a refund for the equivalent of a month’s (four weeks) travel which can be paid directly into their bank account.

Customers claiming against quarterly, monthly or weekly tickets must have bought travel for at least 12 weeks between 24 April 2016 and 31 December 2016 to be eligible.

The government confirms this is in addition to the improved Delay Repay 15 compensation scheme which will begin operating on Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR – the parent company of Southern) services from 11 December.

This means passengers will be able to claim compensation (25% of the cost of the single fare for delays between 15 and 29 minutes) if their train is more than 15 minutes late.

Vickie Sheriff, Which? director of campaigns and communications, said: “Today’s confirmation that rail fares are on the rise again will be a bitter pill to swallow for passengers who continue to experience cancellations, delays, overcrowding and poor service from their train companies.

“It is only right that beleaguered Southern commuters are being offered improved compensation after months of travel misery. With no end in sight for the extreme disruptions passengers are experiencing, much more needs to be done to ensure all passengers receive compensation for overcrowded trains and poor service. Where possible all affected passengers should receive automatic compensation so that they don’t have to repeatedly request refunds.”

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