For nine years, rail fares will rise at the fastest rate

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In March 2013, the largest rise in rail fares for England’s regulated railways will be 3.8%, which is also the highest increase since nine years.

These are the half-priced fares. They also include season tickets on many commuter routes.

The normal procedure for increasing wages is to do so on the first work day of the year. But, since the outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020, the deadline has been extended until March.

Based on July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI), the fare hikes were calculated.

It has said that the government will not raise fares using its normal formula of RPI plus 1.1%. This was the same formula it used in 2012 when fares rose by 2.6%.

Translink, a state-owned operator in Northern Ireland that does not use RPI, sets the rail fare prices for Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government has yet not revealed its plans for 2022. Wales is more likely to follow the same changes as England.

The spokesperson from the Welsh government stated that they are dedicated to increasing public transport usage in Wales, and competitively priced fares are an important means to accomplish this. We’re looking into all the possibilities.

An increase of 3.8% in England could lead to an increase in annual season ticket prices such as:

  • Brighton to London (any route): Up £194 to £5,302
  • Liverpool to Manchester (any route): Up £105 to £2,865

‘Fair balance’

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “[This]Strikes a reasonable balance. This allows us to keep investing in record-breaking amounts for a better, more reliable railroad, reduce the burden on taxpayers, and protect passengers against the highest RPI since years.

People can save money by delaying changes to March 2022 and renew their tickets at the last year’s prices.

Although operators are expected to match the rises in unregulated fares, they were often affected by lower passenger numbers due to the pandemic.

The cost of living is rising, which will cause some grumblings – especially for commuters who are considering returning to work when current guidance on working from home ends.

The demand for season tickets, however, was already declining before the lockdowns that caused rail usage to drop. It is not commuters that have led to the recovery.

Problem is how do you attract passengers back to railways and also address the negative financial effects of the pandemic. If prices are raised too high, passengers will not want to travel again.

Although inflation has increased significantly since July, the government claims it’s protecting its citizens by sticking with the RPI number. The increase will not come into effect until March.

According to the industry, it’s trying to adjust to changing passenger needs. Flexible season tickets are basically bulk-purchases of tickets which can be used within a certain time period. Since their launch in June, around 100,000 tickets have been purchased.

The government said £14bn of taxpayers’ money had been spent to keep services running during the pandemic.

According to the report, some of those expenses would be met by the increase as well as service improvement costs.

Anthony Smith is the chief executive officer of Transport Focus. He stated: “As some prices rise, it is even more crucial that Great British Railways when it is created, gives life and spirit to the government’s aim to make rail fares cheaper value for money.”

It is vital to increase passenger numbers as well as revenue by offering innovative and unique rail tickets. Controlling costs will also be important.

‘Brutal’

Louise Haigh (Labour’s shadow transport secretary) said that the Tory fare increase would be “a nightmare for millions before Christmas for millions.”

Family members already struggling with high taxes and bills, will see their daily commute cost rise by an alarming amount.

Inflation rose to 5.1% during the twelve months to November. It was at its highest point in a decade. The Bank of England raised the UK’s interest rate for only the third time in three years.

Also, the Department for Transport announced that the Book with Confidence program will be extended to the end March of next year.

Passengers can change their travel plans until midnight before their departure without incurring a charge. Or, cancel their tickets to receive a refund.

Source: BBC.com

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