Rail fares across England, Wales and Scotland will be increasing early next year, with season ticket holders having to pay an additional £100p/a to commute via train. The increase comes as a result of Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation which is thought to have risen by 2.8%.
Rail companies are not expecting commuters to take the news well. Campaign group, Railfuture has warned many commuters will refuse to pay for their rail fare after the prices increase on 2nd January 2020. In addition, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union is set to hold protests outside train stations today. According to The Independent, the protests are to urge the Transport Secretary to take charge over the railways.
Season ticket holders are usually worse affected by fare increases and rail companies have seen a huge drop in the number of commuters purchasing these tickets. In 2015/2016 around 712 million people held a season ticket, compared to 625 million people in 2018/2019. A contributing factor to this decline to thought to be associated with salary. Since 2009, rail prices have been increasing at twice the rate of wages meaning commuters simply can’t continue to find the additional expense every time there is an increase.
The increase is defended by rail companies who state that passengers will benefit from a better service. Unlikely news, as commuters have faced nothing but chaos since the beginning of 2019. From signal failures and power cuts to extreme heat and delays in delivering new trains it seems every month there is an issue with the railways.
It’s not all bad news. The Department of Travel also announced they would be raising the age limit of child fares to 16- and 17-year olds. Railcards will be on sale in England and Wales from £30.00 next week.