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Cost per minute of the commute like calling a premium rate number as fare rises come into effect

3 January 2017

Commuters returning to work today could find they are paying up to 27p per minute for their journey as rail fare rises come into effect.

Campaign for Better Transport has calculated the cost per minute for various annual season tickets which are subject to a 1.9 per cent rise this year. For many commuters the increase will be especially difficult to take as they are forced to stand for the majority of their daily journeys.

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Wages remain stagnant and trains continue to be hopelessly overcrowded, so commuters are rightly angry at annual fare rises when they see little or no improvement in the service they receive. Many commuters are now being charged at a similar level to a premium rate phone number for their season tickets and are left feeling equally as fleeced. It’s high time the Government introduced a fairer ticketing system that actively encouraged rail travel, not penalised people for choosing to take the train.”

Season ticket holders travelling from Stevenage into London face the steepest fares at 27p per minute for their commute, with similarly high prices for people travelling from Bath Spa into Bristol at 25p per minute. Commuters travelling into London from Ashford, Luton, St Albans or Chelmsford all face fares of upwards of 20p per minute. Commuters coming into Manchester from Macclesfield are paying 21p per minute and those travelling into Birmingham from Burton on Trent are paying 20p per minute.

Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to make the rail ticketing system fairer by introducing a package of improvements including equal season ticket discounts for part-time workers; adopting the more widely used Consumer Price Index for fare rises instead of the Retail Price Index as is currently used; and a cap on increases for walk-on fares.  


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


Commute Cost of an annual season ticket Average length of return journey Cost per minute
Stevenage to London £3,612 52 £0.27
Ashford International / Reading to London £5,192 76 £0.26
Bath Spa to Bristol

Milton Keynes to London

£1,580 24 £0.25
St Albans City to London £3,380 54 £0.24
Luton to London £4,032 68 £0.23
Chelmsford to London £3,832 66 £0.22
Macclesfield to Manchester £2,484 46 £0.21
Harlow Town / Slough to London

Burton on Trent to Birmingham

£3,496 66 £0.20
High Wycombe / Sevenoaks / Tonbridge / Bishops Stortford to London £3,436 68 £0.19
Witham / Woking to London

Yatton to Bristol

£4,276 90 £0.18
Runcorn to Manchester

Tamworth to Birmingham

Colchester to London

£1,532 34 £0.17
Guiseley to Leeds

Crawley / Tunbridge Wells / Royston / Canterbury stations to London

£1,012 24 £0.16
Cambridge / Basingstoke to London

Swindon to Bristol

East Didsbury to Manchester

Nailsea and Blackwell to Bristol

£4,780 120 £0.15


Notes to Editors

  1. Cost per minute is calculated by dividing the cost of an annual season ticket by the average number of working days in a year (260) to find the daily cost of a season ticket and then dividing this by the length in minutes of the average return journey. You can view the full fares tables here.
  2. Regulated rail fares (season tickets, open singles and returns, and day returns) are subject to an increase of RPI 1.9 per cent increase from January 2 in England and Wales. Unregulated fares are subject to a higher average increase of 2.7 per cent, with some walk-on fares rising much more. Rail fares are frozen in Northern Ireland and London for 2017.
  3. The Government has committed to keeping fare rises in line with RPI (Retail Price Index), however it is now widely accepted that RPI over-estimates real inflation. The Office of National Statistics has dropped RPI as an official measure and the Government has switched to the Consumer Price Index for most other things, including benefits. Doing the same for train fares would have little impact on railway revenues, but it would save passengers money and bring fares into line with things like public sector pensions.
  4. 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). Campaign for Better Transport has produced a Fair Fares Now Charter which sets out in detail how the ticketing system can be improved for passengers. Read the Fair Fares Now Charter here.
  5. For a list of season ticket prices for 2017 please use the following links:

Season tickets into regional stations

Season tickets into London

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