UK rail passengers can face biggest fare hike

Published on : Thursday, August 19, 2021

UK rail

The rail passengers in United Kingdom could see their ticket prices rise by 4.8 per cent next year the largest rise in a decade despite calls for fares to be frozen. The cap on the annual increase in most regulated rail fares is normally linked to the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation. On Wednesday the Office for National Statistics confirmed the figure would be 3.8 per cent for July 2021.

The regulated train fares for season tickets, peak journeys around big cities and off-peak returns – are set by the government. Fares are usually increased every January but the coronavirus pandemic meant this year’s increase was delayed until 1 March.

The traditionally fares have risen in line with RPI. No announcement has yet been made on what will happen to fares next year, but ticket prices in England and Wales rose by an average of around 2.6. per cent, representing RPI for July 2020 plus one percentage point.

A repeat of this policy next year would see fares rise by an average of 4.8 per cent, making it the largest increase since 2012.

The United Kingdom, Scottish and Welsh governments regulate rises for around half of fares, including season tickets on most commuter routes. There are some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys, and tickets for travel around major cities at any time. The pressure group Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) believes fares should be frozen to encourage passengers to return. It has also demanded reforms to the fares system to be prioritised in the ongoing overhaul of Britain’s railways.

Paul Tuohy, the group’s chief executive, said that in the face of a climate emergency, the government should be doing everything it can to encourage people to choose low-carbon public transport by making it the cheapest option, not hiking rail fares.

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