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Decision to charge rail commuters more despite a year of chaos criticised

2 January 2019

Campaign for Better Transport has criticised the Government’s decision to press ahead with a rail fare rise of 3.2 per cent today, in spite of a year of chaos with delays, cancellations and overcrowding on many lines.

Following the chaos caused by the flawed implementation of new timetables on the railways in May 2018, passengers faced severe disruption for many months, and the promised improvements in services that were used to justify the fare increases last January (2018) haven’t materialised for many.

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“Rail passengers suffered atrocious service in 2018 and today’s 3.2 per cent fare rise will only add to their misery.

“The Government’s decision to press ahead with this fare rise despite a year of delays, cancellations and overcrowding, shows a total disregard for passengers and may leave many wondering what they are paying for.

“The review of the railways currently underway must prioritise passengers’ needs and recommend a fundamental reform of the fares system and how fares are set.”

The Government continues to use July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figure to set the following January’s fare increase, despite RPI being obsolete and no longer an official measure of inflation. Campaign for Better Transport has been calling for the Government to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to set fare increases since 2013, which would have meant regulated fares, things like season tickets and standard returns, rising by 2.5 per cent today. Despite having indicated it will do so, the Government has yet to make the change leaving passengers paying more this year.

ENDS

For further information please contact the press office on 020 3746 2235 or communications@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors
 

  1. See examples of season tickets costs for people travelling into London stations
  2. See examples of season ticket costs for people travelling into regional stations
  3. The Government uses the previous July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figure to set the following year’s regulated fare rises. RPI was 3.2 per cent in July 2018, whereas the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 2.5 per cent for the same month. Regulated fares account for around 45 per cent of ticket sales; the rest, including things like advance and peak long-distance tickets, can be increased at train companies' discretion. Looking at fares as a whole, the average rise will be 3.1 per cent this year.
  4. Campaign for Better Transport has been calling for the Government to replace RPI with CPI to set fare increases since 2013.
  5. This table shows how much passengers would have paid if CPI had been used to set rail fare increases since 2014 when RPI was dropped as an official measure of inflation.
  6. Campaign for Better Transport called for a January fares freeze back in August 2018 in light of the major  disruption caused by the introduction of the new timetable and the damage it caused to passengers’ trust and confidence in the railways.
  7. 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).