Train passengers hit by biggest fare hike in a decade costing commuters hundreds more a year

5 March 2023, 07:05

Fares in England and Wales will jump by up to 5.9% on average
Fares in England and Wales will jump by up to 5.9% on average. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Commuters will have to pay hundreds more for their annual season tickets as rail fares jump by an average of 5.9 per cent from Sunday.

It is the single largest hike in fares for more than a decade, despite many train services operating with record poor reliability.

Rail minister Huw Merriman said the increase is "well below inflation and delayed", but Labour described it as "savage" and public transport groups claimed passengers are not getting value for money.

One in 25 train services were cancelled in the year to February 4, the worst reliability in records dating back to 2014, according to Office of Rail and Road analysis.

Mr Merriman said: "I understand it has been a difficult year and people are feeling the pinch which is why - through the biggest ever Government intervention - we capped the rise well below inflation and delayed it coming into force."

Some customers will see their season tickets rise by hundreds of pounds
Some customers will see their season tickets rise by hundreds of pounds. Picture: Getty

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A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: "The Government's decision to hold fares down below current inflation is understandable.

"It is important that fares are set at a level that is appropriate for both the industry and its customers."

Some customers will see their annual season tickets jump up by hundreds of pounds.

An annual season ticket from Woking to London will rise by £216 from £3,664 to £3,880, while journeys from Brighton to London will rise by £313 from £5,304 to £5,617.

Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport. Picture: Getty

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: "This savage fare hike will be a sick joke for millions reliant on the Conservative's broken rail system.

"People already facing soaring taxes and bills will now be clobbered with an eye-watering rise in the cost of the daily commute."

The cap on increases in regulated rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales is set by the Westminster, Scottish and Welsh Governments respectively.

Fare rises come amid record poor reliability
Fare rises come amid record poor reliability. Picture: Getty

These include season tickets on commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.

Regulated fare rises have previously been linked to the Retail Price Index measure of inflation for the previous July, which in 2022 was 12.3%.

But the Westminster and Welsh Governments aligned this year's rises with July's average earnings growth, which was 5.9%.

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