Train companies retain an average of just 3p from every pound paid for rail tickets, with the vast majority of revenue going on maintenance, staff costs and investment in the rail network, according to figures released by the industry association the Rail Delivery Group:
Passengers have become used to train fare rises - and next year will be no different. Although the amount train companies can charge has been capped commuters say a planned 6.2 % increase is still too much and unaffordable.
Our transport correspondent Mike Pearse has been talking to commuters, campaigners and to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
We spoke to rail passengers outside Brighton train station this morning to get their reaction on the increase of rail fares and how the government will cap them in 2014.
Plans to limit the amount by which rail companies can raise ticket prices have been announced as part of the Government's fares and ticketing review published today by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
The review looks at future innovations such as scrapping paper tickets, a code of conduct for train companies and a flexible approach to season tickets which could benefit part-time workers. Some of the ticketing initiatives were announced last month.
Today is just the start of a Government-wide programme to help hardworking people and reduce the cost of living. The Government will be announcing a range of initiatives to help put money back in people's pockets over the next few weeks. By capping fares we are protecting passengers from large rises at a time when family incomes are already being squeezed. We will need to wait for the rail industry to calculate individual ticket prices for next year, but this cap could save some commuters as much as £200 a year."
Mr McLoughlin said the Government was investing more than £16bn in the rail network and said this would make sure it could respond to increasing demand from passengers and strengthen the economy.
Commuters across the south facing season ticket fare increases above the rate of inflation in the new year are being given some respite.
The Government has decided that the ability of train operators to add an additional 5 per cent to some individual tickets, as long as the average rise of regulated fares is maintained at 1 per cent above Retail Price Index inflation, should be limited to just 2 per cent.
From January 2014, no regulated fare, which includes season tickets, can rise by more than 6.2 per cent.
With a new year rise based on the July 2013 inflation rate of 3.2 per cent, some season tickets could have gone up by as much as 9.2 per cent under the old system.
The region's rail commuters returning to work today after the Christmas and New Year break were hit by inflation-busting fare rises. The average increase is nearly 4% up on this time last year.
The rail companies say the rises are needed to pay for improvements but passengers say they are unfair. Mike Pearse reports.
Rail fare rises are the "price we have to pay for investment in our trains". That's what the Sussex MP and Transport Minister Norman Baker told us today. There have been continuous rises ahead of inflation for ten years now.
Commuters and rail unions say the previous Government's policy of pushing up fares must stop before rail becomes ruinously expensive. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.
Rail passengers have reacted with fury today as they endured familiar problems of delays and cancellations while facing higher fares.Read the full story ›
Take a look at how much your rail fare will go up as of todayRead the full story ›
We understand commuters don’t like to pay more to travel to work but it is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year. Successive governments have required train companies to increase the average price of season tickets every January since 2004 by more than inflation. Ministers want passengers to pay a larger share of railway running costs to reduce the contribution from taxpayers while sustaining investment in better stations, new trains and faster services.
From today, the average increase in season tickets and all other fares is 3.9%. Train companies are working with the rest of the rail industry to cut the costs per passenger and so give ministers the opportunity in future to move away from their policy of above-inflation annual fare rises.