Monday, 11 December 2017

2016 fare increase lowest for five years

RAIL commuters from Henley will see fares rise by one per cent next year, the smallest increase since 2010

RAIL commuters from Henley will see fares rise by one per cent next year, the smallest increase since 2010.

The rise is calculated by the Retail Prices Index inflation figure from July and applies from the start of the following year.

This means commuters will see a maximum rise of one per cent on regulated rail fares, including season tickets, from January.

The RPI figure announced on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics showed earnings were up by 2.4 per cent, meaning this will be the first time since 2003 they have gone up by more than rail fares have increased.

Based on an increase of one per cent, the price of an annual season ticket from Henley to London Paddington, not via Reading, will rise from £3,576 to £3,611.76. The same route, via Reading, will cost another £41.87, going from £4,184 to £4225.84.

The Henley to Reading annual rail fare will rise by rise from £1,088 to £1098.88 and an adult season ticket from Henley to Oxford will cost £2,864, an increase of £24.

Passenger fares are helping to support the cost of a £38 billion modernisation to the railway network, running over five years until 2019.

However, rlectrification of the Henley branch line has been delayed by at least a year, so electric trains will start not running on the branch line until mid-2018 at the earliest.

Tricia Mulcahy, chairwoman of the Henley Branch Users Group, said a one per cent increase was a lot better than last year's 2.5 per cent rise.

She said: "That was a pretty eye watering and this is clearly an improvement on that.

"I have seen a report from a campaign group showing rail fares have risen three times faster in the last five years.

"The Government may be trying to redress the balance by keeping it at the RPI."

Train operators will still be able to raise prices on individual routes as long as they compensate this be reducing fares on other routes.

Edward Welsh, of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: ?The railway is a vital public service, underpinning economic growth and attracting more passengers every year.

?We understand that people don?t like to pay more to travel to work but more than 97p in every pound spent on fares goes on trains, staff and other day-to-day running costs, helping to sustain the Government?s massive rail investment programme.

?The rail industry will continue working to get the most out of every pound we spend and to attract more passengers to deliver a more cost efficient railway.?

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