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Fury as commuters face train fare rises of up to 11.2%

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Some commuters face train fare price rises of more than three times inflation next year. And they aren't happy.


Thousands of us rely on trains to get to work every day. But this already expensive form of travel is about to get even more costly, with fare increases from next year of almost double the rate of inflation.

The increase, which will come into effect in January, is linked to July's Retail Prices Index. In England, train networks can increase their prices by RPI plus three percentage points. And after this week’s announcement that RPI has risen to 3.2%, that means the average rise will be a whopping 6.2%.

In Scotland and Wales, train firms are allowed to charge 1% above RPI.

What’s more, that’s just the average. Some price rises could top 11.2% on selected routes thanks to a system called ‘flex’. This agreement allows rail companies to push up some fares by 5% more as long as they make cuts elsewhere.

For some commuters, already overstretched, this could add hundreds of pounds to their travel costs.

The increases will affect regulated fares, season tickets, commuter, saver and a few inter-city services. 

For example, commuters travelling with a Reading to London season ticket currently pay £3,800. But with the planned rises this figure could shoot up to over £4,000.

Those travelling from Stowmarket in Sussex to London already pay a hefty £5,712 for their yearly ticket, but could face a rise of £354.14, bringing the total cost in January to over £6,000.

Commuter town

Current season ticket price to London

Predicted price rise at 6.2%

Predicted season ticket price January 2013

Brighton

£3,392

£210.30

£3,602.30

Luton

£3,604

£223.45

£3,827.45

Reading

£3,800

£235.60

£4,035.60

Oxford

£4,348

£269.58

£4,617.58

Bedford

£4,004

£248.25

£4,252.25

Stowmarket

£5,712

£354.14

£6,066.14

Since 2004, the year-on-year price rises in train fares have all been above inflation. The problem is this doesn’t seem to be buying commuters a better service. So do you think your rail journey is good value for money?

If you're anything like the commuters I spoke to, chances are you don't. One said: "The prices go up all the time, but nothing ever changes. The trains I use are all old trains." Another said he was thinking of moving home for the sake of a cheaper commute.

The imminent price rises will make our rail journeys some of the most expensive in Europe and the cost is likely to make a big impact on our already overstretched budgets.

The Government has performed U-turns on a number of policies already this year. Let’s hope that the planned rail fare rises will also be reconsidered by the Government to save commuters from the misery of paying even more for a service they‘re not entirely satisfied with.

More on travel:

How to claim a refund on your train tickets

The UK's worst train operator

Used car prices fall

2012's most reliable cars

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