Train ticket prices to rise by 3.1% in January
The price of train tickets will rise by an average of 3.1% in January, the rail industry has announced.
The new fares will come into force on 2 January.
The fares affected are those regulated by the government – around 40% – which include season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and flexible tickets for major cities.
Price rises for these are capped at July's RPI (retail price index), which was 3.2%.
Other fares are set by train operators.
The increase will see a season ticket for Blackburn to Manchester increase by £58, Brighton to London Victoria by £135 and Swindon to London Paddington by £270.
The rise of 3.1% is just slightly less than the latest wage growth figure of 3.2% for the three months to September.
Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said: "Nobody wants to pay more to travel, especially those who experienced significant disruption earlier this year.
"Money from fares is underpinning the improvements to the railway that passengers want and which ultimately help boost the wider economy.
"That means more seats, extra services and better connections right across the country."
But the rise comes at a time of increasing dissatisfaction with the country's railways.
Fewer than half (45%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to a survey by watchdog Transport Focus.
And passengers in some parts of the country experienced weeks of chaos after new timetables were brought in earlier this year.
Train punctuality slipped to a 12-year low in the summer and 14% of services failed to meet the industry's punctuality target in the 12 months to 10 November.
On Thursday, rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road launched formal action against Network Rail, ordering the government-owned company to improve its management of the rail infrastructure or face the possibility of fines and being sued by train companies for lost revenue.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Until day-to-day reliability returns – with fewer significant delays and cancellations – passenger trust won't begin to recover.
"Passengers now pour over £10bn a year into the rail industry alongside significant government investment, so the rail industry cannot be short of funding.
"When will this translate into a more reliable railway and better value for money for passengers?
"It's also time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on a calculation that uses the Consumer Prices Index, rather than the discredited Retail Prices Index."
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The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said the fare increase was "another kick in the teeth for passengers on Britain's rip-off railways".
General secretary Mick Cash said: "With the vast majority of our rail franchises in foreign state hands this increase means the British people will be paying the highest fares in Europe on our rammed-out and unreliable services to subsidise passengers in Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. That is nothing short of a disgrace."