5 December 2013: Today Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement and gave rail commuters some long awaited good news.
After 10 years of above inflation fare increases the Government has made a positive move, and changed the rail fares formula from annual above inflation increases of RPI+1 to rise in line with inflation at RPI+0%.
The text of the Autumn Statement on Rail Fares included:
“To help households with living costs the government will further cap the average increase in regulated rail fares for the 2014 calendar year to RPI. This will benefit over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders who will, on average in 2014, save £25. For instance, an annual season ticket from Chelmsford to London should be around £35 less in 2014 than it would have been without this change whilst an annual season ticket from Oxford to London should be around £45 less. This measure will complement the decision by the Mayor of London to cap the average increase in Transport for London fares at RPI for 2014.”
This is a definitely a step in the right direction and will mean some respite for commuters and rail users across the UK, but despite this rail fares are still rising by at least 3.1 per cent which is three times the rate of wages, meaning continued hardship for many rail users across the country
Our research has shown that for many commuters it will mean only slight savings on a weekly and annual basis
Oxford to London – Season ticket prices are likely to increase by around £140 to around £4,672. The move to RPI+0% will save passengers in the region of 87 pence per week.
Chelmsford to London – Season ticket prices are expected to rise by £110 to around £3,650. The move to RPI+0% will save passengers in the region of 68 pence per week.
It is important to give credit where credit is due, and following the government ending the RPI+3% formula in 2012 and now committing to ending RPI+1% to RPI+0%, it is obvious that our campaigning is paying off and government are starting to listen.
However this is only a first step and above inflation increases have not been ruled out beyond 2014. We still have some of the most expensive rail fares in the world and we will continue to campaign tirelessly until fares are reduced rather than just rising less steeply.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our Fair Fares Now campaign so far. We could not have got to this point without you and celebrating and recognising success is crucial when campaigning. Watch this space for news of our next steps and how you can help.