Rail fares hike met with anger by commuters

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

The decision to increase rail fares next year has been met with widespread anger, with commuters questioning how the hit to their pockets can be justified.

It was announced on Tuesday that fares will jump by 1.9% in January, an increase linked to July's Retail Price Index measure of inflation.

The increase will affect regulated fares as well as off-peak return tickets on long distance trips.

Commuter Ian Brettell, who travelled into Edinburgh this morning, told ITV News: "They talk about investing that money for improvements and I think the only improvement I've seen at Dalgety Bay where I get on is a larger platform.

"Trains have actually reduced in size and not any longer. This is normally a six carriage train, it's down to four carriages and today it's down to three carriages and as you can see there are a lot of people standing."

As fares for passengers rise, dividends paid to shareholders of private train companies have risen by 21% in the last year to £222 million, unions said.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady commented: "Rail passengers are paying more and getting even less.

"Fares go up while trains remain overcrowded, stations are unstaffed, and rail companies cut the guards who ensure journeys run smoothly and safely.

Rail fares have increased by 25% in the last six years. Credit: PA

"It's time for rail services to be publicly owned, saving money for passengers and taxpayers alike.

"Instead of increasing fares and cutting staff, we should be building an accessible, reliable train service that Britain can be proud of."

  • Commuters at London Bridge station react to the rail fares hike

A series of protests were held at railway stations across the country by trade unions on Tuesday morning.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn held a placard which read "2017 rip off central" at a demonstration outside London Bridge station.

Mr Corbyn, who wants to renationalise the railways, told ITV News: "This is not a sensible way of running a public railway system, which we have all paid for through huge levels of public investment in the track and the signalling systems."

Research shows that rail fares have risen by 25% in the last six years, while average weekly earnings have grown by just 12%.

Here is a list of the average change in regulated rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales over that time period.

The figures are based on data from the Office of Rail and Road. In each case the change took effect in January.