Some train passengers might be hit with a shock £148 increase to their season ticket price from today as the 2019 fare rise comes into effect.
The 3.1% fare rise is the largest in six years.
It comes after a year of rail chaos and news that train punctuality slumped to a 13-year low in 2018.
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Train punctuality at 13-year low
In the year to 8 December 2018, one in seven trains (14.6%) missed the industry’s punctuality standard, according to Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures.
The only time the average was lower was in 2005.
For a train to be punctual, according to the industry’s Public Performance Measure (PPM), it has to arrive at its final destination within five minutes of the scheduled time, or 10 minutes for a long-distance journey.
A number of problems plagued the rail industry last year, including:
- Extreme weather, such as the icy Beast from the East in February and March.
- The timetable chaos in May, which followed the biggest timetable shake-up ever.
- A number of strikes due to long-running industrial disputes.
Fare rises: how much more will my season ticket cost?
See the table below for a snapshot of what the 3.1% fare means in real terms on some popular commuter routes.
More misery for fed-up rail passengers
Which? managing director of public markets, Alex Hayman, said: ‘Passengers have suffered horrifically this year from timetable chaos and experienced rail punctuality hitting its lowest level in 12 years and these price hikes will only add to their misery.
‘If the rail system is going to start working for passengers, not just train companies, then value for money needs to be a key part of the upcoming government review and passengers must receive automatic compensation for delays and cancellations.’
The fare increase was announced by industry body the Rail Delivery Group.
It said that 98p out of every £1 spent on fares goes towards running the railway – and will support the target of 7,000 new carriages and hundreds of refurbishments to support 6,400 extra services a week by 2021.
Train compensation: how to claim money back
If you’re one of the many passengers who has suffered from poor rail services this year, make sure you’re clued up on your consumer rights so that you know when to claim for compensation.
Which? Consumer Rights helps you get to grips with your rail rights as quickly and clearly as possible (and even provides you with a template letter to claim compensation, if your train company doesn’t offer compensation under Delay Repay). Our advice includes:
- How to claim season ticket compensation for train delays and cancellations
- Letter to claim compensation for train problems
Visit our train delays hub on Which? Consumer Rights for our full range of advice.
How to find cheap(er) train tickets
Even though many train journeys will become more expensive in 2019, make sure you get the lowest fares you possibly can when you travel. Here are a few pointers:
- Book in advance: We’ve found Advance tickets for a journey from London King’s Cross to Leeds for £15.50, which is 87% cheaper than the cost of an Anytime single ticket.
- Look for slower routes: While speed is key for some people (especially commuters), a slightly longer route could save you money.
- Split your ticket: Instead of buying one single ticket for your journey, you can sometimes buy multiple tickets to cover its component parts, to save cash.
Head to 10 tips for finding cheap train tickets for more pointers.