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New figures reveal train fares set to rise four times faster than wages

1 April 2011
Train fares are set to rise almost four times faster than wages next year Campaign for Better Transport has discovered.

According to the latest wage and inflation forecasts from The Office for Budget Responsibility, average earnings for 2012 will increase by 2.2 per cent. Regulated rail fares on the other hand will increase by an average 8 per cent - almost four times (3.7) more – and up to 13 per cent in some places.

Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport's public transport campaigner, said: "Times are tough for many people and they are going to get more so in the coming months. With fares rising so much faster than wages, the cost of the commute is becoming an increasingly heavy burden and there is a real danger that some people simply won’t be able to afford to get to work. We’ve seen help for drivers, but where is the help for rail passengers?”

With average earnings having dropped 5 per cent in real terms since the recession, some season tickets now cost a quarter of the average salary.  By 2015, rail fares will be on average 28.4 per cent higher than they are now.

The figures are published as a group of MPs have tabled a parliamentary motion calling for fairer, more affordable rail fares.

Notes to Editors

1. The rising cost of a season ticket from Ashford International to London using the high speed route in absolute terms and in relation to predicted income:
•    2011 - £5,192 or 25.8 per cent of the average salary
•    2012 - £5,612 or 27.3 per cent of the forecast average salary for 2012
•    2015 - £6,665 or 28.6 per cent of the forecast average salary for 2015

For examples of other fares in the South East see here.

For other regional examples see here.

2. In October’s Spending Review, the Government announced that regulated rail fares would increase by up to 3 per cent above the RPI inflation rate for three years from January 2012.

3. Wage and inflation forecasts available from The Office for Budget Responsibility, Economic and Fiscal Outlook March 2011 (page 79)

4. Research commissioned for BBC's Panorama programme shows that average earnings have dropped by 5 per cent in real terms since the recession to £20,149 at the start of 2011.

5. Campaign for Better Transport launched their Fair Fares Now campaign in January to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail ticketing. Visit the website for more information www.fairfaresnow.org

6. MPs have tabled Early Day Motion #1577, which calls on the Government to honour its commitment to fair pricing for rail travel, and review its decision to raise fares by 3 per cent above inflation from January 2012.

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).