Rail fares to rise by average 5.9%

Rail tickets, money and a timetableTrain fares will rise by an average of 5.9% in January, the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) has said.

The increase is higher than the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was 5.2% in November.
Michael Roberts, chief executive of Atoc, said: "Money raised through fares helps pay for new trains, faster services and better stations.

"The long-standing Government approach to sustaining rail investment is to cut the contribution from taxpayers and increase the share paid for by passengers.

"The industry is working together to continue cutting costs as a way to help limit future fare rises and offer better value for money for taxpayers over the longer term."

In September the then transport secretary Philip Hammond said rail fares were so expensive the system had become a "rich man's toy".

Giving evidence to the Commons Transport Committee, Mr Hammond said some of the ticket prices on routes like the West Coast Main Line were "eye-wateringly expensive".

He added: "Uncomfortable fact number one is that the railway is already relatively a rich man's toy."

Last month Chancellor George Osborne took a little of the sting out of the planned new year fare rises by reducing the increase by 2%.

Before the announcement, regulated fares, which include season tickets, had been due to rise by an average of 8% in January - 3% above July's RPI inflation figure. But Mr Osborne said an RPI plus 3% rise, introduced by this Government, was "too much" and that the increase would be limited to RPI plus 1%.
© 2011 Press Association

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