'Kick in teeth': Rail fares to rise more than rate of inflation

A train ticket, money and a railway timetable. Picture: PA Wire.

A train ticket, money and a railway timetable. Picture: PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Rail fares will rise by more than the rate of inflation next year - with passengers facing an increase of 2.6pc.

Prices for regulated fares - including season tickets and off-peak fares bought on the day of travel - will increase from March 1 next year, a delay of three months.

In the past, governments have linked the annual rises to July's RPI inflation rate, which this year was 1.6pc, with the higher prices usually coming into effect on New Year's Day.

This year's increase is RPI plus 1pc, while last year's price hike was 2.7pc.

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said it was the "lowest actual increase for four years" and reflected taxpayers' "unprecedented contribution" to rail services during the pandemic.

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Passengers renewing season tickets will be able to do so until February 28 next year, getting up to a year’s travel at the old rates.

The increase means an annual season ticket from Norwich to London rising by approximately £225 to £8,885, and an off peak journey from Norwich to Great Yarmouth increasing by 21p to £8.41.

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Mr Heaton-Harris said: "Delaying the change in rail fares ensures passengers who need to travel have a better deal this year.

"Right now, our priority must be ensuring our transport network is safe for passengers and staff, and we urge members of the public to follow the government’s advice and only travel when absolutely necessary," he added.

Steve Hewitt, of the East Norfolk Transport Users Association, said: "To put the fares up above the rate of inflation is a kick in the teeth to people who use the railways to get to work.

"You don't want to see the price of anything go up, but you know it does, because the government does invest in the railways.

"But banging up the fares above the rate of inflation is wrong," he said.

David Bill, campaigner for a Norfolk Orbital Railway, said: "Any increase is to be regretted.

"We are living in strange times of course, nobody is moving around without very good reason. Hopefully we will get back to normal. At that point we will need the railways. Pricing passengers off the railways goes against what is really needed."

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