New Year rail fare rises come into force

Rail commuters will pay higher fares from today, with annual tickets rising by an average of 3.1%.
Rail commuters will pay higher fares from today, with annual tickets rising by an average of 3.1%. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Passengers are facing higher rail fares as annual tickets rose by an average of 3.1%.

The increase will mean some commuters will be forced to pay more than £5,000 a year, with annual tickets to London from Deal and Dover Priory costing £5,012.

A number of these fares, including some on the East Coast route, are going up by much less than 3.1 per cent, with the overall rise in tickets - regulated and unregulated - being 2.8 per cent.

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:

The increase could have been even greater, but Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement in early December that the regulated fare price cap of RPI inflation plus 1% was being changed to RPI plus 0%.

Rail fares: Where does the money go?
Rail fares: Where does the money go? Credit: railfares2014.com/RDG

UK commuters are spending far more of their salaries on rail fares than some European passengers, according to the TUC-organised Action for Rail (AfR) group.

The group said it had compared UK average earnings with season tickets covering similar commuter routes across Europe.

Rail fares are rising so fast that by 2018 the Government will be making "a profit from passengers", according to a report commissioned by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

By 2018, fares generated from passengers will cover 103 per cent of railways' operating costs, up from 80 per cent in 2009, the report by consultants Credo suggested.

New Government plans could see train companies paid to convert first-class carriages for use by standard ticket holders.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is reportedly negotiating a deal with First Great Western in a move designed to appease passengers angry at overcrowding and fare rises.