Commuters warned they could be hammered by an ‘eye-watering’ 8 per cent rise in rail fares next year – the highest increase since privatisation – in latest cost of living blow
Commuters were today warned they face being hammered by an 8 per cent rise in rail fares next year in the latest blow during the cost-of-living crisis.
If the Government uses the same formula as this year to calculate the 2024 increase in train fares in England, then passengers are set for an ‘eye-watering’ hike.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics this morning showed Britain’s average earnings growth for July was 8 per cent.
This was the measure to which the Department for Transport aligned this year’s cap on fare increases, after average earnings growth for July 2022 stood at 5.9 per cent.
Ministers have confirmed next year’s fare rises will be below the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation for July – which was 9 per cent – but not announced what formula they will use.
Commuters were warned they face being hammered by an 8 per cent rise in rail fares next year in the latest blow during the cost-of-living crisis
If the Government uses the same formula as this year to calculate the 2024 increase in train fares in England, then passengers are set for an ‘eye-watering’ hike
Ministers have confirmed next year’s fare rises will be below the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation for July – which was 9 per cent – but not announced what formula they will use
If they do push ahead with an 8 per cent increase, it will be the highest rise in train fares in England since the privatisation of the rail network was completed in the 1990s.
An 8 per cent increase in rail fares would see annual season tickets from Woking to London rise by £310 to £4,190.
An off-peak return from Manchester to London would cost £112.20 following an £8.30 hike.
Norman Baker, a former Liberal Democrat transport minister and director of external affairs at pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘The Government has yet to confirm next year’s rail increase, but if it follows the same formula as last year and uses today’s average earnings growth rate, passengers will face eye-watering increases.
‘Rather than hammer rail passengers yet again, the Government should freeze rail fares – as they have done with fuel duty – until the long-promised ticketing reform takes place.’
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: ‘Following last year’s biggest ever Government intervention to cap rail fare increases well below inflation, we’ll continue to protect passengers from cost-of-living pressures and we will not increase next year’s rail fares by as much as the July RPI figure.
‘Any increase will also be delayed until March 2024, temporarily freezing fares for passengers to travel at a lower price for the entirety of January and February as the Government continues with its plan to halve inflation.’
About 45 per cent of fares on Britain’s railways are regulated by the Westminster, Scottish and Welsh Governments.
They include season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance routes, and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.
Train operators set rises in unregulated fares, although these are likely to be very close to changes in regulated ticket prices as their decisions are heavily influenced by governments due to contracts introduced because of the Covid pandemic.
The Scottish and Welsh governments have not announced their rail fare plans for 2024.
Fares in Northern Ireland are set by operator Translink.
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