The rise in inflation means more misery for commuters as train companies can increase fares up by 6.2%. Will the Chancellor step in?
Today's inflation figures will give an indication of the level of rail fare increase we can expect in January. So what is driving that rise?
Commuters are braced for more misery as inflation figures were higher than expected meaning that train companies can charge more.
NEW: Fire now out waiting for smoke to clear before opening London Victoria station.From @GatwickExpress on Twitter:
Trains are unable to leave or arrive at Victoria station in London after the fire on a Gatwick Express service.
Tom Edwards, an antiques dealer from London, who was trying to get a train to visit his mother, said he spotted flames and black smoke coming from the train.
"There was just a little bit of flames by the wheels," he said.
"They put it out and then started chucking everybody out of the building.
"There was no panic. It could have got pretty bad if they hadn't done something about it straight away."
London Fire Brigade confirmed a train was on fire and said crews were attending.
No trains are running into or out of London Victoria train station due to a train fire.
NEW: London Victoria station is being evacuated due to a train on fire.From @GatwickExpress on Twitter:
– Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union
The fact is that rail fare increases are doing nothing more than fattening the profits of the private train companies.
When passengers get another inflation-busting kick in the teeth on January 2, they will know that their hard-earned cash is being bled out of the railways and into the pockets of a bunch of spivs and chancers.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) chief executive Michael Roberts said: "Fare rises are determined largely by Government policy, and the Chancellor confirmed the Government's approach for next year in the Autumn Statement.
"Railway funding can only come from the taxpayer or from the passenger, and the Government's policy remains that a bigger share must come from people who use the train.
"We know nobody likes paying more for their journey, especially to go to work. Train companies will continue working with the rest of the industry to become more cost efficient, helping to take the pressure off future fare rises."
Family budgets are being squeezed, so that is why this coalition Government has taken proactive steps to cut the planned fare rises from 3% to 1% above inflation until 2014.
This decision puts an average of £45 per year back into the pockets of over a quarter of a million annual season ticket-holders. Many more holders of weekly and monthly season tickets could also see lower fares and some commuters could be over £100 better off.
– Norman Baker, Transport Minister
We are engaged in the biggest rail investment programme since the 19th century and it is only right that the passenger, as well as the taxpayer, contributes towards that.
In the longer term, we are determined to reduce the cost of running the railways so that we can end the era of above-inflation fare rises.
Annual increases should be limited to no more than the rate of inflation, and that should be CPI not RPI, because that's the lower figure and pensions benefits and salaries are all linked to CPI.
There is an average rise of RPI plus 1, but it's very average, it will vary from area to area and route to route. Some fares are going down a little bit, although you'll need a magnifying glass to find them. Most people's fares are going up anywhere between 4% and 11% or 12%.
Meanwhile, petrol tax is frozen and overall the cost of driving remains static. How does this help persuade people out of their cars and ease congestion? Where is the green policy?
– Bruce Williamson, Railfuture spokesman
The train operating companies may say that they need the money for improvements, but how much fare income is actually spent on improvements? Fares income is not ring-fenced for anything. If you look at how much money is being paid back to the Government in the form of corporation tax, fuel tax (which airlines don't have to pay), industrial buildings tax and so forth, you have to ask whether raising fares above inflation is really necessary.
Here are examples of fare rises. The table compares the price of a 12-month season ticket bought this month to one bought from 2nd January 2013.
The table does not include the price paid if within-London travelcards are also purchased for Tube and bus journeys in the capital.
- Leeds-Wakefield £908 £964 6.16%
- Bishop's Stortford-London £3,560 £3,704 4.04%
- Portsmouth Harbour-London £4,480 £4,668 4.19%
- Basingstoke-London £3,800 £3,960 4.21%
- Ramsgate-London £4,640 £4,864 4.82%
- Woking-London £2,780 £2,896 4.17%
- Folkestone-London £4,612 £4,836 4.85%
- Reading-London £3,800 £3,960 4.21%
- Sevenoaks-London £2,980 £3,112 4.43%
- Aylesbury-London £3,520 £3,632 3.18%
- Bedford-London £4,004 £4,172 4.19%
- Hastings-London £4,400 £4,584 4.18%
- Canterbury-London £4,588 £4,812 4.80%
- Deal-London £4,640 £4,864 4.82%
- Dover Priory-London £4,640 £4,864 4.82%
- Ludlow-Hereford £1,892 £1,992 5.28%
- Bangor-Llandudno £1,084 £1,140 5.16%
- Morpeth-Newcastle £960 £1,008 5%
- West Malling-London £3,712 £3,876 4.42%
- Guildford-London £3,092 £3,224 4.27%
- Bracknell-London £3,800 £3,960 4.21%
- Braintree-London £3,960 £4,124 4.14%
- Tunbridge Wells-London £3,968 £4,132 4.13%
Where London is mentioned, this means travel to London terminal stations where travel is allowed by any route option shown by the National Rail Enquiry system Journey Planner where the journey can be made using only one ticket.