More rail travellers will be pushed in to the £5,000-a-year season ticket price bracket following today's announcement of train fair rises that will take effect from January 2.
The rise for regulated fares, which includes season tickets, will be up to 2.5%, which means those commuting from Canterbury East to London, for example, will see their season tickets rising from the January 2014 price of £4,960 to a point beyond £5,000.
Folkestone Central to London season tickets which were £4,984 in January 2014 will also pass the £5,000 mark.
How to beat the rail fare hikes
Other travellers will have to join the ranks of those already paying £4,000 a year for their annual commute. The season ticket from West Malling in Kent to London, for example, rises from the January 2014 figure of £3,996 to a point beyond £4,000 .
Those commuting to London from Woking in Surrey will see their January 2014 season ticket price of £2,980 rising past the £3,000 mark.
Fare hikes could exceed 2.5%
Although the January 2015 rise for regulated fares has been limited to no more than £2.5%, unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets, can go up by as much as the train companies like.
However, announcing the new fares today, the rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group said the average rise for all fares to take effect from January 2 would be 2.2%, which is the lowest average rise for five years.
However, many season ticket holders will find their average rise will be greater than their annual pay rise.
Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts said: "Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining the railway. This benefits not just passengers and businesses but communities across the country, by improving journeys, creating employment and helping to boost the economy.
"Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27 million a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services. That will mean more seats, better stations and improved journeys."
'Invested back into the network'
He went on: "For every £1 spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe's fastest growing railway.
"The industry is continuing to work together to get more for every pound we invest to enable government to make fares decisions which work best for passengers."
Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "It is time to stop this annual persecution of passengers with year-on-year hikes in fares. We have seen fares jump by as much as 245% on key routes since privatisation 20 years ago.
"It is now cheaper for a family of four to fly to Iceland to see Father Christmas - £224 - than it is for one person to buy an any-time walk on return rail fare from London to Manchester - £321.
"Labour should pledge a year-long fares freeze if it wins next May's general election. It is high time to end the new year misery of ever higher fares for millions of passengers."
Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "The scandal of Britain's great rail fares rip off is that today's hike is far outstripping average pay increases and it will once again hit those at the sharp end of the austerity clampdown the hardest.
"After two decades of privatisation the British people pay some of the highest fares in Europe to travel on clapped-out, understaffed and overcrowded services while the private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank. Today's fares announcement just fuels that scandal.
"We say fares should be cut and not staff, and public ownership would allow us to do just that. "
Some facing a hike of almost £250
The Canterbury East to London season ticket rises by 2.42% to £5,080 from January 2, while a West Malling season ticket to London rises 2.40% to £4,092.
Commuters in Woking will find that from January 2 they will be paying just under 2.42% more for their season tickets which are rising to £3,052.
One of the longest commutes is from Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire to London. Those on this route will see their annual tickets rising from a January 2014 figure of £9,468 to a January 2015 figure of £9,704 - a 2.49% hike.
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How train fares are set to rise
Here are examples of rail fare rises. The table compares the price of a 12-month season ticket bought in January 2014 with one bought from January 2 2015.
The table does not include the price paid if within-London travelcards are also purchased for Tube and bus journeys in the capital.
ROUTE JAN 2014 JAN 2015 PERCENTAGE RISE
Leeds-Wakefield £992 £1,004 +1.2%
Basingstoke-London £4,076 £4,156 +1.96%
Bedford-London £4,300 £4,404 +2.42%
Sevenoaks-London £3,208 £3,288 +2.49%
Cheltenham Spa-London £9,468 £9,704 +2.49%
Deal-London £5,012 £5,136 +2.47%
Woking-London £2,980 £3,052 +2.42%
West Malling-London £3,996 £4,092 +2.4%
Guildford-London £3,320 £3,400 +2.41%
Dover Priory-London £5,012 £5,136 +2.47%
Ludlow-Hereford £2,032 £2,080 +2.36%
Morpeth-Newcastle £1,040 £1,056 +1.54%
Milton Keynes-London £4,772 £4,772 +2.43%
Tunbridge Wells- London £4,260 £4,364 +2.43%
Aylesbury-London £3,732 £3,812 +2.14%
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