1. ITV Report

Rail prices set to soar by 3.6% next year

Campaigners have called on the government to change the method for setting rail fares. Photo: PA

The cost of regulated rail fares, including season tickets, will soar by 3.6% next year.

The confirmation of 2018's rise, which compares to this year's 1.9% increase, comes on a day of major transport disruption after a train derailment at London Waterloo station.

Rail workers are also staging a series of protests warning passengers they are paying "more for less".

With the regulated rail fares due to rise by up to 3.6% in January, these are the likely 12-month season ticket price increases:

  • Bath Spa - Bristol Temple Meads now: £1580.00
  • Bath Spa - Bristol Temple Meads in January: £1636.88
  • Bath Spa - London terminals now: £7784.00
  • Bath Spa - London terminals in January: £8064.22
  • Plymouth - Exeter St David's now: £2204.00
  • Plymouth - Exeter St David's in January: £2283.34
  • Exeter St David's - London terminals now: £9448.00
  • Exeter St David's - London terminals in January: £9788.13

Why are passengers paying so much?

Rail passengers will pay more once again for their annual rail tickets. Credit: PA

The annual January rise in regulated fares - almost half of all tickets and including season tickets and standard returns - is linked with the previous July's Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed the July rate at 3.6%.

Public transport campaigners have called for the government to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation to set rail fares, which is generally lower than RPI and is used to calculate changes in benefits.

July's Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation
July's Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation

July's CPI figure remained unchanged at 2.6%.

It has been the policy of successive governments to reduce the funding of the railways by taxpayers and increase the relative contribution of passengers.

The ONS warned last month that RPI is "flawed" and has "serious shortcomings".

What are the rail unions arguing?

Rail unions said passengers are paying 'more for less'. Credit: PA

Rail unions said, even as fares rise, rail engineering work is being delayed or cancelled, skilled jobs are being lost and staff are being cut on trains, stations and ticket offices.

They will call for reduced fares, public ownership and protection of jobs, during protests on Tuesday outside railway stations across the country, including London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool.

When the Tories passed legislation which allowed rail fare hikes year in, year out, they made legal one of the greatest train robberies in railway history.

Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask when he robbed his passengers. Today train companies, with the Government's blessing, hide behind the Retail Price Index as a method of legitimately fleecing more money from hard-pressed passengers at the start of each new year.

– Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs Association leader

Money from fares pays to run and improve the railway, making journeys better, boosting the economy, creating skilled jobs and supporting communities across Britain, and politicians set increases to season tickets.

It's also the case that many major rail industry costs rise directly in line with RPI.

Rail companies are working together to improve performance now, adding thousands more seats over the next 18 months and, longer term, simplifying fares and ticket buying so that the country has the railway it needs to prosper.

– Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group