NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 2nd, 2018.
Rail passengers will feel the effects of the largest fare hike in five years from today, UK rail fares will rise on average by 3.4% with season tickets up by 3.6%.
From today fares on Arriva Trains Wales services will rise by 3.3% while the average rise on Mersey rail will be 3.6%.
Rail union the RMT will be demonstrating at 40 commuter stations between 7am and 9am this morning including Chester in a protest against the latest fare increase.
RMT members will be handing out chocolates to commuters to at least “sweeten the bitter pill of the fare rises.”
Train fare increases since 2013
January 2013 – 3.9%
January 2014 – 2.8%
January 2015 – 2.2%
January 2016 – 1.1%
January 2017 – 2.3%
January 2018 – 3.4%
Rail fares have increased 5 times the rate of public sector pay awards and at twice the speed of average earnings since 2010 an RMT study shows.
Average fares have risen more than three times faster than wages according to study by Labour.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It’s another New Year and yet another hike in fares for passengers. These eye watering increases will make it even harder for workers to get by.
“Whilst workers are struggling the private train companies are raking it in. As we enter the 25th year anniversary of railway privatisation legislation the need for public ownership of rail has never been more popular or necessary”.
Regulated rail fares, things like season tickets and standard returns, make up almost half of all fares and increases are set by government at the previous July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) figure.
Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to reform the fares structure to make it fairer and simpler for all passengers and to introduce a flexible season ticket for the 8.5 million people who work part-time and are not catered for under the current ticketing system.
Andy McDonald, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“The Tories’ failure on our railways means passengers have faced truly staggering fare rises of over £2,500 since 2010, with fares having increased three times as much as wages.
“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 by years.
“Decisions taken by government Ministers are making rail travel unaffordable for the many in favour of huge profits for the few.
“The truth is that our fragmented, privatised railway drives up costs and leaves passengers paying more for less. The railways need serious reform that could be achieved if the Tories matched Labour’s manifesto policy to extend public ownership to passenger services, but instead Ministers are persisting with a failed model of privatisation that is punishing passengers.”