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Campaigners respond to Chancellor's announcement on rail fares

5 December 2013
Campaign for Better Transport has responded to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and the decision to cancel the above inflation rise in regulated fares for 2014.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said

"We strongly welcome the Chancellor's decision to end the decade of inflation-busting fares rises. However, ticket prices will still rise three times faster than wages and above inflation rises are still on the cards for 2015 and beyond. Even for long distance commuters, the saving will amount to less than £1 per week. Today's announcement is a welcome first step, but Government still has much to do to make sure our railways are affordable to all."

New research from Campaign for Better Transport shows the impact of the Chancellor's change in policy (limiting fares rises to RPI inflation of 3.1%) will have on regulated rail fares from January 2014.

For the two examples quoted in the Autumn Statement (Oxford and Chelmsford to London) the impact would be:

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.

Further examples of what the change in Government policy on regulated fares means for passengers can be found on the Campaign for Better Transport website.

Since coming to power, the Coalition Government's record on rail fares is:

  • May 2010: Publication of the Coalition Programme for Government includes a commitment to 'fair pricing for rail travel.'
  • October 2010: Spending Review announces an intention for regulated rail fares to continue to rise by 3% above inflation each year from 2012-2015.
  • January 2011: Regulated rail fares go up by an average of 6.2%
  • May 2011: Department for Transport announces its intention to undertake a Fares and Ticketing Review as part of their response to the McNulty review of value for money in the rail industry. Then Secretary of State Philip Hammond claimed that the efficiencies from the review would “put the era of inflation-busting fare increases behind us”.
  • January 2012: Regulated rail fares go up by 6%
  • March - June 2012: Rail Fares and Ticketing Review is consulted on. The review is launched with the statement that "Rail fare increases will be capped at the rate of inflation under plans to help hard-pressed passengers by ensuring the rail industry brings down the cost of Britain’s railways." and to allow "more passengers to travel by rail." The outcome of the review is still unpublished and is currently planned for release over the summer.
  • October 2012: Government abandons plans to raise regulated fares by RPI inflation plus 3% after widespread criticism of the policy, including from a number of backbench Conservative MPs representing commuter constituencies.
  • January 2013: Regulated rail fares rise by an average of 4.2%
  • June 2013: Spending Round indicates no change to the policy of above inflation fares increases before the next General Election in 2015.
  • August 2013: Increase in regulated rail fares for 2014 announced at 4.1% (July RPI plus 1%).
  • September 2013: The Fares and Ticketing Review is published and includes plans for and a trial of part time season
  • December 2013: Chancellor cancels limits fares rises to RPI from January 2014 but does not indicate a change of policy beyond 2015