Rail users face steepest fare hike in five years as RPI rises to 3.6%
Millions of rail users are to face a “staggering” fare rise of 3.6% next January.
The hike, which is the largest increase in five years, is based on the RPI inflation measure for this month.
Although CPI remained steady at 2.6% in July, RPI came in higher, edging up 0.1% from June to 3.6%, the Office for National Statistics said.
Rail prices use July’s RPI as a reference point for next year’s price increases.
The change will affect about 40% of rail fares from January, including season tickets and some off-peak return tickets.
Labour tore into the price rise, saying ministers were making rail fares “unaffordable” and accused them of “punishing” passengers.
“The Tories’ failure on our railways means passengers have faced truly staggering fare rises, some of over £2,500, since 2010 with fares having increased twice as much as wages,” Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said.
“Commuters have repeatedly been told that higher fares are necessary to fund investment, but promised investment has been cancelled and essential works have been delayed for years.
“Decisions taken by government ministers are making rail travel unaffordable for the many in favour of huge profits for the few. By pegging regulated fares rises to the Retail Price Index, the Conservatives are leaving commuters facing year on year price hikes.”
Campaigners called on the Government to reform the system and link fares to CPI rather than RPI.
“The Government must intervene to make fares simpler, fairer and cheaper in Brexit Britain. Passengers and taxpayers will rightly be asking what they are paying for,” Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said
A Treasury spokesperson said: “Although inflation is likely to start falling next year, we understand some families are concerned today about the cost of living.
“That is why we have given the lowest paid a pay rise through the National Living Wage and are cutting taxes for 31 million people.”