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Calls for a fares freeze as next year's rail fares are announced

15 August 2018

Campaign for Better Transport is calling for a rail fares freeze on the day commuters learn how much their fares will go up in January.

The rise, which is pegged to July’s inflation figure of 3.2%, comes as commuters continue to suffer the effects of the botched timetable introduction in May and the ongoing failure to implement service improvements meant to justify last year’s fares rise.

Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to freeze fares and hold regulated rail fares at their current level in January. It also wants Government to rethink the way it calculates future increases to reduce the burden on hard pressed commuters.

Steve Chambers, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The Government should freeze fares for January. Rail passengers have endured enough from the failures of the rail network this year, and being asked to pay more again next year will be a bitter pill to swallow. With the pressure on household budgets, this further increase in the cost of getting to work will hit people hard.”

Regulated rail fares, things like season tickets and standard returns, make up almost half of all fares and increases are set by government. 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).


Season ticket costs for various commuter routes from January 2019 are available below.

For further information please contact the press office on 07984 773 468 or communications@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. Projected fare rises for January 2019 can be found in these documents:
    Projected fare rises for London stations
    Projected fare rises for regional stations including Leeds and Bristol
  2. In May, the introduction of a new rail timetable caused widespread chaos in the north of England and on various London commuter lines, and left thousands of passengers stranded. The chaos has continued, with operators still unable to run the new timetable. The Government, in response to the May fiasco, has vetoed further timetable changes expected in December which means improvements due to come in then (for example in the West Midlands, the west of England and the South Western Railway area) have been cancelled or delayed indefinitely.
  3. Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to change they way it calculates rail fare increases by replacing RPI with the more widely recognised Consumer Price Index (CPI). RPI overestimates real inflation so consistently that the Office of National Statistics stopped using it as an official measure in 2013 and the government has already switched to CPI for uprating pensions, wages and benefits and when looking at inflation on family budgets.
  4. 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 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 workers are losing hundreds of pounds a year. Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to introduce flexible season tickets for part-time commuters which offer equal discounts to those currently experienced by full-time commuters.
  5. 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).