Thousands of train travellers will face new year fare rises of at least 6% following news of rocketing inflation figures.
The annual rises are linked to the previous July’s official inflation figures, with regulated fares – which include annual season tickets – pegged at retail price index (RPI) inflation plus 1%.
The RPI figure of 5% means that January 2009 average fares for regular commuters will rise by an average of 6%, which will mean some fares could be higher than that.
And other non-regulated fares – such as off-peak tickets – could go up even more.
In addition, one train company, Southeastern, is allowed to put up their regulated fares by RPI plus 3% to pay for new high-speed services which are to be introduced soon.
So passengers travelling to London’s Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Victoria stations will have to fork out even more than some other travellers.
Ashwin Kumar, director of customer watchdog body Passenger Focus, said: ‘What passengers won’t tolerate is train companies using the flexibility allowed them by the system to put up some fares by nearly 11%.
‘Nor will they tolerate unregulated fares going up by more than this at a time when high fuel prices mean that more people are travelling by train.’
Gerry Doherty, general secretary of the transport union TSSA, said: ‘It is a scandal that the rail companies have this trigger which allows them to put up fares every year.
With the economic downturn, everyone is cutting prices yet the rail industry is always putting them up.’
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