5th December 2014
Rail passengers will face a 2.2% hike in fares in the new year, with more travellers forced to pay £5,000 a year for their season ticket.
Regulated fares, which include season tickets, will increase in price from 2 January meaning thousands more will join the ranks of the £5,000 a year season ticket travellers.
Those commuting from Canterbury East to London will see the cost of their ticket increase from £4,960 to over £5,000 and those travelling from Folkestone Central will see their £4,960 a year cost surpass the benchmark too.
Others will see their costs rise above £4,000 including those who travel from West Malling in Kent to London – who currently pay £3,996 a year. Travelling in from Woking in Surrey to London will increase past £3,000 from the current price of £2,980.
While the rise is limited to no more than 2.5% for regulated fares, unregulated fares such as off-peak and leisure tickets can be increased at higher levels of the rail companies’ choosing.
The Rail Delivery Group said the average rise for all fares is 2.2% – the lowest average rise for five years. However, this will do little to cheer season ticket holders who have not seen wage increases keep pace with fare increases.
Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts said: ‘Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining the railway. This benefits not just passengers and businesses but communities across the country, by improving journeys, creating employment and helping to boost the economy.
‘Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27 million a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services.’
He added that for every £1 spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3p is profits earned by train companies.
However, Manuel Cortes, head of the TSSA rail union, said: ‘It is time to stop this annual persecution of passengers with year-on-year hikes in fares. We have seen fares jump by as much as 245% on key routes since privatisation 20 years ago.
‘It is now cheaper for a family of four to fly to Iceland to see Father Christmas – £224 – than it is for one person to buy an any-time walk-on return rail fare from London to Manchester – £321.’