It has been reported that the government has announced that rail fares will rise below the rate of inflation next year.
Responding to the news, Michael Solomon Williams, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Any rise in rail fares will hit passengers hard and do nothing to get people back on-board trains. The government should instead freeze rail fares – as they have done with fuel duty – until the long-promised ticketing reform takes place.”
“Regulated rail fares, including standard day returns, season tickets and most commuter fares, make up almost half (45 per cent) of all fares and increases are set by the Government. Usually fares rise by the previous July’s RPI figure but in 2022, to avoid a double-digit fare rise, the Government used the average earnings growth rate instead and postponed the rise until 5 March (instead of January 2023).
“This meant fares rose by 5.9 per cent, rather than 12.3 per cent (July 2022’s RPI figure), but this was still the highest rise in a decade (fares rose at six per cent in 2012).
“Even if the government uses a similar method to calculate next year’s rail fare rise, it is likely that passengers will still be subjected to a large fare hike (earnings growth rate in June was 7.8 per cent, the highest for two decades).
“Out of 40 popular commuter routes into London, a similar rise to this year (5.9%) would see 27 season tickets go above £5,000 next year, and ten pass the £6,000 mark with an annual season ticket from Southampton to London costing over £7,000 (£7,218).
“Campaign for Better Transport is calling for a fare freeze for 2024 in recognition of the burden high fares place on rail passengers and to bring rail passengers in line with car drivers who benefitted from a 13th consecutive year of frozen fuel duty in this year’s Budget.”
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