Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Train fares to rise by 4.1% from January 1

COMMUTERS from Henley will face another increase in rail fares next year.

COMMUTERS from Henley will face another increase in rail fares next year.

The cost of a First Great Western season ticket and other regulated fares will rise by an average of 4.1 per cent on January 1.

Regulated fares go up by an average of inflation — as measured by the retail prices index in July — plus one per cent annually as the Government attempts to transfer some of the cost of maintaining the rail network from taxpayers to passengers.

The RPI fell from 3.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent last month.

Ministers say the rises will pay for investment in the rail network.

Trade unions organised protests at stations around the country and called for the network to be returned to public ownership.

Train companies can further increase fares on individual routes as long as they lower others to compensate.

This year, First Great Western opted to raise all its prices in line with the Government’s figure.

If it does the same next year, an annual standard-class season ticket from Henley to Paddington will rise from £3,388 to £3,527.

Passengers who make the journey via Reading would pay £4,117 compared with the current price of £3,955.

An annual season ticket to Oxford would rise from £2,688 to £2,798 and a ticket to Reading would rise from £1,033 to £1,075.

On Tuesday, a First Great Western spokesman said it was too early to announce plans for next year’s increases because the company was in talks with the Department for Transport about a new contract on the network for another 32 months.

The franchise is due to expire in October.

David Sidebottom, of watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “Passengers will shrug wearily at the news that regulated fares in England are to rise by an average of 4.1 per cent.

“Now passengers are the main funders of the railway, it is crucial that, in return for this rise, more trains arrive on time, investment in future improvements continues and the basic promises the industry make are delivered.”

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