Regulated train fares are set to rise by an average 4.1% from January after the headline rate of retail price index nflation fell to 3.1% in July from 3.3% in June. Labour has pledged to cap fare rises if it gets into power.
Labour's shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has said it is "unrealistic" to expect passengers who are already struggling with the rising cost of living to pay an extra 4.1 percent on average for rail fares.
She also attacked the government for allowing train companies to "fiddle" with the way it distributes the fare rise, resulting in a 9.1 percent increase for some passengers.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the expected rise in rail fares next year saying that the rail network is in need of "huge investment". He told the BBC:
Nobody likes to see rail fares go up. I don't like to see it and passengers don't like to see it. We are massively investing in the railways, with £130 million being spent here at Nottingham, £800 million at Reading and £600 million at Birmingham.
– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary
Pressed to say when the government plans to end above-inflation fare rises, he said that the Office for Budget Responsibility has a target to do so in 2015.
He said that just over £8 billion was raised by ticket sales and just under £4 billion by taxpayers for the UK's rail services.