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  1. ITV Report

Rail fares rise by 1.1% across Britain

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Duncan Golestani.

Train fares in Britain will rise by an average of 1.1% today, the smallest annual increase since 2010. But critics say some passengers will be "amazed there are any fare rises at all" because of the quality of some services.

The average rise for regulated fares, including annual passes, was limited to no more than 1%, linked to July's rate of Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation.

The increase applies in England, Wales and Scotland as set by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). Northern Ireland is treated separately.

Train companies are free to decide the price of unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets.

Rail fares increase by up to 1.1% across Britain today. Credit: PA

Rail Minister Claire Perry has defended the price hike:

We are helping hard-working people with the cost of transport. We've put a stop to inflation-busting increases in regulated fares until 2020.

This will save the average season ticket holder £425 in this Parliament, and means earnings are outstripping rail fare increases for first time in a decade.

Our plan for passengers is improving journeys for everyone - it's transforming the tickets people buy, how much they pay for them, the trains they sit on, how quickly they arrive and the stations they arrive in.

– Claire Perry, Rail Minister

Network Rail punctuality figures show at least one in 10 trains were at least five minutes late in 2014.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "In some parts of the country, given rail performance has been so dire, passengers will be amazed there are any fare rises at all."

He added: "Passengers are paying their part in the railways - rail revenue is heading towards £9 billion a year. The rail industry must now keep its side of the promise: deliver on the basics."

Bruce Williamson of campaign group Railfuture claimed fares were "increasingly divorced from reality".

He criticised the Government's policy of using RPI to calculate regulated fare rises, rather than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the RDG which represents train operators and NetworkRail, said: "We know that nobody likes to pay more to travel by train, especially to get to work, and at 1.1% this is the smallest average increase in fares for six years.

"On average 97p in every pound from fares is spent on trains, staff and other running costs."

Campaign groups say routes with franchises up for renewal should be returned to public ownership. Credit: PA

But Action for Rail - a campaign by rail unions and the TUC - claimed that the 25% rise in fares over the last five years is a consequence of privatisation of the network.

The organisation claimed that £1.5 billion could be saved over the next five years if the routes with franchises up for renewal are returned to the public sector.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: "Passengers are left paying through the nose to travel on unreliable and overcrowded services.

"Meanwhile, vast profits are being bled from our railways with huge amounts siphoned off by European state rail companies to subsidise their own domestic rail operations.

"It's about time we had a British state rail operation run in our interests."

Commuters with annual season tickets can find out how much their fare has gone up by on the National Rail Enquiries website.