Why will my train ticket be more expensive next year?

17 December 2021, 13:54

Trains at Leeds station
Leeds train station stock. Picture: PA

The PA news agency answers some of the key questions about what will happen to train fares in 2022.

Annual rail fare rises in Britain are a controversial issue.

The PA news agency answers some of the key questions about what will happen next year:

– Who determines how much more expensive my train ticket will be?

The cap on Britain’s fare rises is controlled by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments.

– How did they calculate the increases for this year?

Average rises in England and Wales were 2.6%, which was based on the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation plus one percentage point.

– What about in Scotland?

Peak and off-peak tickets went up 1.6% and 0.6% respectively.

Rail ticket stock
Average rises in England and Wales this year were 2.6%, and i Scotland peak and off-peak tickets went up 1.6% and 0.6% respectively (Ben Birchall/PA)

– What will happen next year?

Fares will rise by up to 3.8% in England and Scotland. The Welsh Government has not announced its plan.

– Why 3.8%?

That was July’s RPI.

– How does that compare with previous years?

Average increase in rail fare
(PA Graphics)

It will be the largest rise since January 2013.

– When will the increases be implemented?

On January 24 in Scotland and March 1 in England.

– What do public transport campaigners say?

They want fares to be frozen to cut carbon emissions and encourage commuters to return.

– Is there a difference in who sets regulated and unregulated fares?

Governments regulate rises in around half of fares including season tickets on most commuter routes.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, operators controlled increases in other fares.

– What has changed?

Governments now have control of all fares as a result of spending billions of pounds to take on operators’ financial liabilities during the virus crisis.

– How much more expensive has train travel become in recent years?

Office of Rail and Road figures show that between 2004 and 2021, average fares increased in real terms by 14.7%.

– Where does the money go?

The Rail Delivery Group says 98p of every £1 spent on train tickets goes towards running and maintaining services.

– Is there any way of avoiding a rise in fares?

Savvy commuters can renew their season tickets in the days before an annual increase.

– Any other tips on limiting the cost of train travel?

Passengers can save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak, and booking in advance – although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly those made by commuters.

By Press Association