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Rail commuters ‘snubbed’ by Government as fares go up

2 January 2018

As commuters return to work today, Campaign for Better Transport has criticised the decision not to freeze rail fares which has left the average commuter coming in London £146 worse off.

Today’s rise, the highest in five years at 3.6 per cent, has meant the average season ticket into London has gone up by twice as much as last year. With the number of season ticket journeys falling, rail fares are increasing becoming out of reach for many people especially as wages are not being increased.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We called for a rail fares freeze to help struggling commuters, but the Government chose to snub rail passengers and only freeze fuel duty. Today season ticket holders will have had to fork out almost as much as drivers will save this year. That doesn’t seem fair to us or the millions of people who commute by train, especially as wages continue to stagnate. What’s good enough for motorists should be good enough for rail passengers.”

Regulated rail fares, things like season tickets and standard returns, make up almost half of all fares and increases are set by government at the previous July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figure.

Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to reform the fares structure to make it fairer and simpler for all passengers and to introduce a flexible season ticket for the 8.5 million people who work part-time and are not catered for under the current ticketing system.

ENDS

For further information please contact Alice Ridley on 020 7566 6495 / 07984 773 468 or alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. Last year, the average season ticket into London terminals went up by £74, this year the average is £146. For average season ticket costs into regional stations and individual season tickets increases see below.
  2. Since 2014, fare increases have been capped at the previous July’s Retail Price Index (RPI). However RPI is an unreliable measure of inflation and has been largely replaced by the more widely recognised and accepted Consumer Price Index (CPI). RPI for July 2017 was 3.6 per cent. The last time rail fares rose higher was in 2013 when they went up by 4.2 per cent. Unregulated fares will raise on average 3.4 per cent.
  3. In his Autumn budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the fuel duty will be frozen for the eighth consecutive year saving the average driver £160 a year: (1.5 Supporting people, businesses and the NHS).
  4. According to the latest Office of Rail and Road statistics, season ticket journeys have fallen by 9.4 per cent.
  5. There are 8.5 million part-time workers in the UK, a large majority of them women, yet there is no season ticket available to them which would give them a similar discount to that which full-time commuters receive. At the moment part-time workers who commute by train, and commuters who work from home for some of the week, must either buy a season ticket and lose money on the days they don't use it, or buy individual peak-time tickets, meaning part-time commuters are losing hundreds of pounds a year.
  6. In Action Plan for Information on Fares and Ticketing, the Government agreed to run a small number of pilots to test some key strategic principles that could form the basis of fares reform. Pilots were due to start in May 2017, but so far none have taken place.
  7. Latest ONS stats show 2.2 per cent wage growth
  8. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).