Today we learned that regulated rail fares will go up by a massive hike of 3.2% in January 2019. Government regulated rail fares, that's things like season tickets and standard returns, make up almost half of all fares. They are the tickets many of us have to buy in order to get to work.
As well as setting fares, the Government is also ultimately responsible for the long term strategic planning of the railway, deciding where to invest in new infrastructure, letting franchises to operating companies and making sure there is enough train capacity to meet demand.
In May this year things went terribly wrong. The big timetable change that should have unlocked years of investment in the railway and make services better instead caused weeks of chaos. The promised new timetable still hasn't been delivered. Compensation for the worst affected passengers still has not been received.
We wrote to the Prime Minister in June outlining what passengers had been telling us about their nightmare journeys to work that were happening day after day. The response we got in July suggests no end in sight to the reduced services on many lines that are subject to interim emergency timetables. We've also learned that further timetable improvements in December this year have been postponed indefinitely.
The Government has suggested the measure we use for fares increases could change in future from RPI to CPI. This would be a welcome move, but it can't make up for the weeks and months of disruption now. That's why we are saying fares should not go up at all in January.
It just isn't fair to expect passengers to pay more for a worse service. You help us make the Government listen and join our call for a fares freeze now by sending this special #faresfreeze tweet.