Rail travelers have to ‘grin and bear’ the biggest fare hike in ten years
“Just another nail in the coffin” amid the cost of living crisis is how some people in England and Wales have described the biggest increase in rail fares in more than a decade.
Fares have risen by up to 5.9% on average today, adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of many annual passes.
This is happening against the backdrop of record cancellations, “poor” services and disruption to strikes.
For people already struggling with soaring energy and food bills, it will be “a bitter pill to swallow,” campaigners have warned.
Examples of new ticket prices based on a 5.9% increase:
- Annual subscription from Woking to London: increase of £216 from £3,664 to £3,880.
- Round trip Birmingham to Cardiff off-peak: increase of £3.97 from £67.30 to £71.27.
- Anytime single journey from Liverpool to Leeds: increase of £2.35 from £39.90 to £42.25.
Although the government stressed that this year’s increase was “well below inflation and lagging behind”, Labor described it as “wild” and “a sick joke”.
Bruce Williamson, spokesman for action group Railfuture, said it will be “grins and bears again” for many people.
“Rail fares have gone up year by year, commuters generally had to grin and put up with it, and the government got away with making fares more and more expensive,” he added.
‘What can you do? When you have to go to work to earn a living and when you have no alternative, you have to grin and bear it and pay and save elsewhere in your life, but it’s not easy or pleasant.’
This is the biggest fare increase since 2012, when fares rose 6%, but people often complain that they are “not getting good value for money”.
One in 25 services was canceled in the year ended February 4, the worst reliability on record from 2014, according to an analysis by the Office of Rail and Road.
The railroads were also disrupted by a range of problems such as staff shortages and sickness, labor disputes, severe weather and infrastructure failures.
Recent research by Watchdog Transport Focus shows that less than half of passengers feel they are getting good value for their fare.
CEO Anthony Smith said: “After months of unreliable services and strike disruptions, it is clear too many passengers are not getting value for money.
“Capping fares below inflation and delaying them until March helped ease the pain, but the need for more fundamental reform of fares and ticketing must not be forgotten.”
But Railway Minister Huw Merriman said he understood “it’s been a difficult year” for people.
“That is why we have – through the largest government intervention ever – limited the increase well below inflation and delayed its entry into force,” he said.
The upper limit for increases in regulated rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales is set by the Government of Westminster, Scotland and Wales respectively.
These include season tickets for commuter journeys, some low-tariff return tickets for long-distance journeys and flexible tickets for journeys in large cities.
Regulated fare increases were previously linked to the retail price index inflation measure for last July, which was 12.3% in 2022.
But the Westminster and Wales governments have adjusted this year’s increases to match average earnings growth in July, which came in at 5.9%.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/05/rail-passengers-forced-to-grin-and-bear-biggest-fare-hike-in-decade-18389397/ Rail travelers have to 'grin and bear' the biggest fare hike in ten years