Government Announces Rail Fare Rise Of 5.9 Per Cent From March
A rail fare increase of nearly 6 per cent will still be a large financial burden on commuters (Alamy)
The Department for Transport has announced that regulated rail fares will increase by up to 5.9 per cent from March next year in England.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the price increase, which is capped at a level below inflation would "help reduce the impact on passengers".
The retail price index, which measures inflation, hit 12.3 per cent in July. The government's 5.9 per cent cap will prevent rail ticket prices rising such high levels.
However, an increase of nearly six per cent will still be a large financial burden on commuters after a winter beset by railway strikes.
Harper said the move was the “biggest ever government intervention in rail fares”.
“It has been a difficult year and the impact of inflation is being felt across the UK economy,” he said. “We do not want to add to the problem.
“This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who help pay for them.”
Labour MP and Shadow Secretary for Transport Louise Haigh blamed the price hike on "12 years of Tory failure".
Rail fares in the UK are already among the highest in Europe.
She tweeted: "This savage fare hike will be a sick joke for millions reliant on crumbling services."
Other Labour MPs have called for UK rail services to be nationalised, with shadow transport minister Tan Dhesi confirming at the party conference in September that Labour would take rail back into public ownership.
He said the "fragmented and privatised model is letting down the British people".
Lib Dem MP for Twickenham Munira Wilson describes the "endless train chaos" as a "kick in the teeth" for her constituents.
"And all in the middle of a cost of living crisis!" she said. "Fares should be frozen and services restored now."
Laura Suter, the head of personal finance at AJ Bell, told the Daily Express: “It is worth remembering government regulation only covers around half of all tickets, including season tickets, so rail passengers using other tickets could still see whopping, inflationary-level increases.”
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