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Rail fares to rise by 2.2% next year

A passenger buying a train ticket Image copyright PA

Average rail fares will rise by 2.2% from 2 January, the rail industry has said, marking the lowest rise for five years.

In September, the government said regulated rail fare rises would be pegged to July's measure of Retail Price (RPI) inflation rather than capped at RPI plus 1%.

Regulated fares include season tickets.

Northern Ireland rail fares are set separately and have not risen since 2013.

Similarly in Scotland, there will be no rise next year in off-peak fares, which have been frozen since January 2013. Peak fares will rise by 2.5%, the same as the July inflation rate. It means on average overall rail fares will rise by 1.5%.

The industry figure covers all fares, not just season tickets and other regulated fares.

The increase in the rail fares is almost 1% higher than the current rate of Consumer Price Inflation, which was recorded as 1.3% in October by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). But it is slightly lower than the current rates of RPI which the ONS said was 2.3% in October.

The chancellor confirmed on Wednesday 's Autumn Statement that regulated fares will rise by July's RPI figure of 2.5%.

Regulated fares - about half the total - have increased by more than the rate of inflation in most years since 2004.

These fares include season tickets, "anytime" single tickets around major cities, and off-peak inter-city return tickets.


Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent

For ten years on the bounce, 2004 to 2013, the government put regulated fares up by more than inflation.

They get hammered for it every year, so why do it?

Well, here's an interesting stat. Passengers picked up 59.2% of the total rail industry bill last year. That's 2% more than the year before and 4% more than the year before that.

But that means the proportion of funding from the government, and therefore all taxpayers, has been dropping. It's gone down more than 9% in two years.

Bearing in mind that the vast majority of commuters (about 95%) don't catch the train to work, not everyone will think that's a bad thing.


In September, the chancellor announced the "flex rule" that had allowed train companies to raise regulated fares by 2% above RPI would be scrapped.

Train companies have greater freedom to set fares that are "unregulated".

The rail industry says discounting by train companies has contributed to the number of train journeys doubling since the mid-1990s. It says that in 2012-13, 47% of passenger revenue came from discounted tickets, up from 36% in 2002-03.

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group which represents rail operators and Network Rail, said that over the next five years, Network Rail would be spending on average £27m a day on improving rail lines, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services.

He added: "For every pound spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs, while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe's fastest-growing railway.

"The industry is continuing to work together to get more for every pound we invest to enable government to make fares decisions which work best for passengers."

Example annual season ticket fare rises
Route Jan 2014 Jan 2015 Rise
Sevenoaks - London £3,208 £3,288 2.5%
Cheltenham Spa - London £9,468 £9,704 2.5%
Deal - London £5,012 £5,136 2.5%
Dover Priory - London £5,012 £5,136 2.5%
Milton Keynes - London £4,772 £4,888 2.4%
Tunbridge Wells - London £4,260 £4,364 2.4%
Bedford - London £4,300 £4,404 2.4%
Woking - London £2,980 £3,052 2.4%
Guildford - London £3,320 £3,400 2.4%
West Malling - London £3,996 £4,092 2.4%
Ludlow - Hereford £2,032 £2,080 2.4%
Aylesbury - London £3,732 £3,812 2.1%
Basingstoke - London £4,076 £4,156 2%
Morpeth - Newcastle £1,040 £1,056 1.5%
Leeds - Wakefield £992 £1,004 1.2%

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