Rail fares rise for Wales to be set in autumn

Rail passengers in Wales will have to wait until the autumn to see how much fares will rise next year.

Some rail fares in England will rise in January by 6.2%, which is based on the Retail Prices Index - which stood at 3.2% in July - plus 3%.

In Scotland fares will rise by by RPI plus 1%, the figure chosen by the Welsh government last year.

Transport Minister Carl Sargeant will make a decision this autumn in line with the Wales and Borders franchise.

That franchise covers Wales and bordering areas of England, is operated by Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) and runs for 15 years from 2003.

The extra money raised by the increases will help fund investment across the networks.

The Welsh government said it would give ATW its decision in the autumn, to fit in with the company's planning for the introduction of new fares in January.

It added that price increases for cross-border travel would depend on whether the majority of the journey was in Wales or England, reflecting the policy of the Welsh or UK government accordingly.

The Welsh government also said that the announcements referred to regulated fares, such as season tickets and off-peak returns on most longer journeys.

Unregulated fares - such as peak-time intercity services - can be set by train operators at levels of their choice according to market forces.

The decision to have different formulas for fare rises is a political one. In Scotland, 75% of the cost of the railways comes from a government subsidy, which is higher than in England.

The figures for planned rises in England and Scotland are an average across regulated tickets, which make up half of all fares.

There are no fare increases currently planned in Northern Ireland, where fares are not linked to RPI.

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