Train passengers ‘punished’ as fares rise by nearly 5%, but how much will tickets actually cost?

From today train ticket prices will increase by 4.9%, surpassing the current rate of inflation which is 4%, ITV News Reporter Olivia Guthrie has the latest


Rail fares in England and Wales are rising by nearly 5% despite train cancellations being among the highest levels for 10 years.

Public transport campaigners claimed passengers are being “punished” and will be “angry” at Sunday’s price hikes.

The equivalent of 3.9% of services in England and Wales were cancelled in the year to February 3, analysis of Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures shows.

That is narrowly below the worst performance of 4.1% in records dating back to 2014.

Reliability has been hit by several factors in recent months, including strikes, infrastructure faults and severe weather.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

The fares rise could add £190 to an annual season ticket from Woking to London, taking the cost from £3,880 to £4,070.

It could also see flexi season tickets for travel between Liverpool and Manchester on two days per week over a year rising by £92.60 from £1,890 to £1,982.60.

Chris Page, who chairs pressure group Railfuture, said: “Why are rail passengers being punished year after year with inflation-busting fare rises?

“No matter that there’s a cost-of-living crisis, no matter that we’re facing a climate emergency, the government seems more determined than ever to price us off the railway and on to the roads.”

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “This fare rise will be tough for passengers to stomach given the shocking state of rail services up and down the country.

“Since coming to power in 2010 the Tories have hiked fares by almost twice as much as wages, and now passengers are being asked to pay more for less.”

Rail minister Huw Merriman said last month that the UK government had attempted to “split the balance between the UK taxpayer and the fare payer” in relation to fare rises, which he described as being “well below inflation”.

Huw Merriman Credit: James Manning/PA

ORR figures show the Westminster administration provided £4.4 billion of funding to train operators in Britain in the year to the end of March 2023.

How much will tickets cost?

Here are 10 examples of potential rail fare rises across England. Figures are based on an increase of 4.9%. It compares the cost of season tickets using any valid route bought before and after the rise.

It does not include the price paid if within-London travelcards are purchased for Tube and bus journeys in the capital.

Annual season tickets:

ROUTE – PREVIOUS PRICE – AFTER 4.9% RISE – INCREASE

  • Woking to London – £3,880 – £4,070 – £190

  • Gloucester to Birmingham – £4,908 – £5,148 – £240

  • Brighton to London – £5,616 – £5,891 – £275

  • Whitehaven to Carlisle – £2,284 – £2,396 – £112

  • York to Leeds – £2,764 – £2,899 – £135

Flexi tickets for travel two days per week over a year:

ROUTE – PREVIOUS PRICE – AFTER 4.9% RISE – INCREASE

  • Welwyn Garden City to London – £1,851.60 – £1,942.30 – £90.70

  • Liverpool to Manchester – £1,890 – £1,982.60 – £92.60

  • Cambridge to London – £4,208.40 – £4,414.60 – £336.70

  • Ipswich to Peterborough – £4,510.80 – £4,731.80 – £221

  • Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads – £960 – £1,007 – £47

How are rises in train fares decided?

Last July’s Retail Prices Index measure of inflation, which is traditionally used to determine annual fare rises, was 9.0%.

The Consumer Prices Index, which is a more commonly used inflation figure, was 6.8% in July 2023 but fell to 4.0% in January.

The UK and Welsh governments set the cap for rises in regulated fares at 4.9%.

These include season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance routes and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.

Train operators set unregulated fares such as Advance singles, although their decisions are heavily influenced by the government due to contracts introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rises in these fares are expected to be similar to those for regulated fares.

The Scottish government will increase ScotRail fares by 8.7% from April 1.


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