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Rail fare rise a ‘bitter disappointment’

16 December 2020

Responding to the news that rail fares will rise by 2.6 per cent in March 2021, Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport said:

“We are bitterly disappointed the Government has chosen to raise fares just as people will be returning to workplaces next year. The Government is committed to decarbonising transport, yet this rise will do nothing to encourage people to choose the train or help the green economic recovery the country so desperately needs.

“We understand that the Treasury needs to recoup some of the money it has spent on the railway during the pandemic, but the way to do that is by encouraging passengers back onto the trains, not by pricing them off. Raising rail fares sends entirely the wrong message on transport choices.

“Passengers now need urgent fares reform, including the introduction of flexible season tickets for people commuting part time, to help make rail travel a financially attractive choice or we risk people abandoning the railways all together.”


See examples of 2021 season tickets costs for people travelling into London stations

See examples of 2021 season ticket costs for people travelling into regional stations

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

Notes to Editors

  1. Currently, if you commute less than five days a week you can choose to buy a season ticket and lose money on the days you don’t use it, or buy expensive day return tickets. Campaign for Better Transport has called for flexible season tickets for part-time commuters for many years. The number of people working part time and flexibly has been trending upwards for years, even before the pandemic. Last year, around 1.7 million people worked mainly from home, and a further four million said they worked from home at least part of the week, with 40 per cent of women in employment working part time. The number of people commuting part time is set to increase with more employers offers home working options. With millions of people set to continue working from home for at least part of the week for the foreseeable future, if not permanently, the need for a more flexible approach to commuter tickets has only increased. Back in July, the Government announced that rail companies were to submit proposals for part-time season tickets, which could give people who work and commute flexibly or part time a fairer deal on train tickets for the first time. The Government should expediate the introduction of these tickets on all routes and by all operators and ensure that they give an equivalent discount to full-time season tickets; part-time commuters do not need a repeat of carnet tickets that offered little to no savings. The Government must recognise that the needs of commuters have changed and ensure that the railway meets those needs in an affordable way or else we risk the long-term economic and social costs of permanently diminishing the public transport system.
  2. Campaign for Better Transport operates in England and Wales. Campaign for Better Transport's vision is for all communities to have access to high quality, sustainable transport that meets their needs, improves quality of life and protects the environment. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).

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