Rail fares to go up by 2.7%: Why do prices rise every year?

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Helen Keenan

Britain’s train companies confirmed they will hike prices by an average of 2.7% next year.

Some long-distance commuters will see the annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100 when the annual increase comes into force on January 2.

Fewer than half (47%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus.

Network Rail data shows that only 65% of trains arrived at their scheduled station stops within one minute of the timetable in the past 12 months.

Graph showing average fare increases. Credit: PA

Here are some of the key questions around the price hike:

Why does the cost of train travel increase every year?

It has been the policy of successive governments to switch the burden of funding the railways from taxpayers to passengers.

It has been the policy of successive governments to switch the burden of funding the railways from taxpayers to passengers Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

How much more expensive have train fares become?

Office of Rail and Road figures show that between January 1995 – around the time the network was privatised – and January 2019, average fares increased in real terms by 21%.

When is the next increase?

Fares become more expensive on January 2 2020.

Who decides how much they go up by?

Increases in about 45% of fares are regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. The rest are decided by train companies.

Which fares are regulated?

Season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys, and tickets for travel around major cities at any time.

How is the cap on the rise in these fares calculated?

Rises are pegged to the July Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was 2.8%. This is apart from off-peak regulated fares in Scotland, which can increase by RPI minus 1%.

Where does the money go?

The Rail Delivery Group says 98p of every £1 spent on train fares goes towards running and maintaining services.

Is there any way of avoiding the fare rise?

Savvy commuters will renew their season tickets in the days before the increase.

Any other tips on limiting the cost of train travel?

Passengers can save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak and booking in advance, although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly those made by commuters.

Some examples of the price rises include

– Brighton to London: Increase of £125 to £4,581

– Gloucester to Birmingham: Increase of £119 to £4,357

– Barrow-in-Furness to Preston: Increase of £117 to £4,285

– Edinburgh to Glasgow: Increase of £114 to £4,198

Passengers will be able to check fare rises for individual journeys on train ticket websites from Saturday morning.