The mid-winter will be bleaker for millions of rail travellers as inflation-busting fare rises take effect from Wednesday - with a Leeds to Wakefield season ticket rising by more than 6%.
Regulated fares, which include season tickets, are increasing by an average of 4.2%, with the overall average rise for all tickets being 3.9%. Campaign groups have pointed out that the increase is the 10th successive above-inflation rise, with some rail season ticket holders seeing their fares rise by more than 50% in the last 10 years. Also, the TUC has said that fares have risen far faster than wages since the recession in 2008.
Train companies can put some season tickets up by more than 4.2% as long as the overall average does not exceed 4.2%. So, for example, a Leeds to Wakefield season ticket is rising 6.16%, while a Ludlow to Hereford season ticket is increasing 5.28%. Some travellers will escape the worst of the increases. Those commuting to London from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, for example, will only have to pay 3.18% more for their season tickets.
The Association of Train Operating Companies said it recognised nobody liked paying more for their journey. But it added that railway funding could only come from taxpayers or from passengers "and the Government's policy remains that a bigger share must come from people who use the train".
Labour highlighted the fact that some season tickets are allowed to rise by more than the 4.2% average. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said:
Among the disgruntled travellers were Gavin Lambert and Kevin Gowland, waiting for their Leeds train at London's King's Cross station.
Mr Gowland said: