Rail passengers face above inflation fares rise

 

Rail fares will go up on average by 2.7% next month, the body that represents train firms has announced.

The rise is significantly higher than the widely used CPI inflation measure, which was 2.1% in July.

However the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) argued it was lower than July’s RPI measure of inflation (2.8%), which government uses to restrict increases to regulated fares, which are around 45% of all fares.

”Local

Politicians and passenger groups have called for the CPI measure to be used for increases to regulated fares.

The average overall increase includes all national rail fares and will come into effect on 2 January.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: ‘Passengers will benefit from 1,000 extra, improved train carriages and over 1,000 extra weekly services in 2020 and the industry will continue to push for changes to fares regulations to enable a better range of affordable, mix and match fares and reduced overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.’

The RDG pointed out that previous governments ‘have decided that farepayers and not taxpayers should cover most of the cost of running the railway [which] frees up public funds for record levels of investment in infrastructure’.

It added that rail companies want to work with any future government to make fares ‘easier’ for customers by reforming ‘outdated’ regulations.

As part of its election campaigning, the Labour Party pledged to cut rail fares by 33% from 2 January if it comes to power. It said this would be funded ‘from existing budgets drawn from Vehicle Excise Duty’.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Labour will bring about real change on the railways because we are on the side of passengers.’

An RDG spokesperson said: ‘Train companies would obviously support a reduction for passengers as long as it is funded on an ongoing basis so that investment to improve the railway can continue.’

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