Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Season Ticket Swindle: Government makes passengers pay hundreds more for train tickets

18 November 2009
Rail commuters are being charged several hundred pounds more every year on their season tickets because of a Government policy change a few years back, Campaign for Better Transport reveals today [1]. That “extra charge” will continue to grow, as early as January when new fares come in. Campaign for Better Transport is concerned that the rising cost of train travel is making it harder for people to choose the greener mode of transport.  

Cat Hobbs, the group’s public transport campaigner, says:

“Despite what the Government may want us to believe, its fares policy is hurting passengers -- leaving them out of pocket at a time of recession. The Government must review its policy on rail fares. It should encourage people to take the train, not push them into their cars.”

The Season Ticket Swindle [2]: Passengers paying hundreds more due to changed Government policy

London-bound examples
(The 10 busiest London-bound commuter stations)   


  • Reading – London: £ 400, 13% more
  • Chelmsford – London: £354, 13% more
  • Brighton – London: £415, 13% more
  • Woking – London: £119, 5% more
  • St Albans – London: £266, 11% more
  • Guildford – London: £169, 7% more
  • Southend Victoria – London: £201, 7% more
  • Colchester – London: £571, 17% more
  • Tonbridge – London: £400, 15% more
  • Sevenoaks – London: £553, 29% more

Examples outside London commuting areas
(using the two busiest stations in a region)



  • East Midlands: Nottingham - Leicester £171, 13% more
  • North East: Darlington - Newcastle £212, 13%
  • North West: Preston - Manchester £323, 17%
  • South West: Bath Spa - Bristol Temple Meads £146, 13%
  • West Midlands: Worcester - Birmingham  £121, 13%
  • Yorkshire & the Humber: York - Leeds £223, 15%

Notes to editors
[1] In 2003 the Government changed the rail fares policy for regulated fares. Starting January 2004, regulated fares were allowed to rise by RPI+1% every year. Before that, rises were capped at a below-inflationary rate of RPI -1%. The change was part of a Government desire to have rail passengers pay a greater share of the costs of the rail network. This was entrenched in the Rail White Paper of 2007, which set a target of fares income paying 75% of rail costs by 2014.
Recently, nearly 100 MPs signed a parliamentary petition calling for a review of this policy, with EDM 1852, Review of Rail Fare Regulation


[2] Fares quoted are standard annual adult fares. The 2003 fares are from National Fares Manuals. The current prices are from National Rail Enquiries.  Full details
We’re working with passengers around the country to cut train fares.