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A spokesman for the transport watchdog Passenger Focus has said that commuters and season ticket holders will be hit hardest by next year's rail fare hike.
Mike Hewitson told ITV Central it was particularly bad news for "captive commuters" who live in large cities like London where driving to work is not an option.
"It goes against all the policies ... which are to cut down on car use ... Public transport is being promoted as the green mode of travel [so] it has to be affordable".
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.
A Treasury spokeswoman has said that today's figures show that the "economy is on the mend" since inflation is almost half of its recent peak of 5.2% in September 2011.
– treasury spokeswoman
The economy is on the mend, but the Government understands that times are tough for families and that is why we have taken continued action to help with the cost of living
Rail fares are increasing nearly twice as fast as incomes, outstripping wages by almost 14 percent since 2007, according to the Campaign for Better Transport.
This graph shows how rail fares and incomes became decoupled in 2007, with rail fares soaring far above increases in earnings.
The group also says that next year will be the eleventh successive year in which rail fares have risen above the level of inflation.
About 25 protesters calling for a cut in rail fares and a return to British Rail are staging a demonstration outside King's Cross Station in central London.
The campaign group Action for Rail has planned protests at 47 train stations across the country. Some of the larger stations include:
- Birmingham New Street
- London Waterloo
- Bristol Temple Meads
- Liverpool South Shields
The slight drop in the rate of inflation is due to air fares and price movements in the recreation, culture, clothing and footwear sectors, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
A rise in petrol and diesel prices partially offset the fall, the ONS said.
Regulated rail fares in England are set to rise by an average 4.1% from January after the headline rate of retail price index inflation fell to 3.1% in July from 3.3% in June.
The rate of consumer price index inflation fell to 2.8 percent in the year to July 2013, down from 2.9% in June, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The number of rail passenger journeys has increased dramatically from around 750 million per year to 1.5 billion, according to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.