Rail fares up - but no improvement

queue for ticketsKatie Collins/PA Wire

This week's rail fare rise comes at a time of "no perceptible improvement in services", a campaign group has said.

The average season ticket increase of 4.2%, which takes effect on Wednesday, is the 10th above-inflation increase in a row, said the Railfuture group.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) has said that the overall average rise, including non-season tickets, will be 3.9% on Wednesday, with some fares not going up as much as this.

But with some non-season-ticket unregulated fares allowed to be increased by an unlimited amount, Railfuture said that some fares could be going up by around 11% or 12%.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson said: "Yet again, rail fares go up with no perceptible improvement in service. Over the last 10 years, fares have increased by more than 50% - much more than people's incomes."

This year regulated fares, which include season tickets, can be increased by the RPI inflation rate plus 1%, with the figure based on what the rate was in July. This gives the average figure of 4.2%.

Mr Williamson said: "Annual increases should be limited to no more than the rate of inflation, and that should be CPI not RPI, because that's the lower figure and pensions benefits and salaries are all linked to CPI.

"There is an average rise of RPI plus 1, but it's very average, it will vary from area to area and route to route. Some fares are going down a little bit, although you'll need a magnifying glass to find them. Most people's fares are going up anywhere between 4% and 11% or 12%."

Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union, said: "The fact is that rail fare increases are doing nothing more than fattening the profits of the private train companies. When passengers get another inflation-busting kick in the teeth on January 2, they will know that their hard-earned cash is being bled out of the railways and into the pockets of a bunch of spivs and chancers."

Atoc chief executive Michael Roberts said: "We know nobody likes paying more for their journey, especially to go to work. Train companies will continue working with the rest of the industry to become more cost efficient, helping to take the pressure off future fare rises."

© 2012 Press Association
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