Rail fare backlash as prices rocket by £125 again – 'passengers will REFUSE to pay'

COMMUTERS on Britain’s railways are set for more travel misery after the Government confirmed fares will increase by 2.8 percent.

The price hike for passengers will see the annual cost of travelling on many of the busiest UK routes rise by more than £100 with some season tickets soaring above £4,500. The rise in fares will come into force from January 2, 2020. The cost of a season ticket from Brighton to London will increase by £125 to £4,581. Gloucester to Birmingham will increase by £119 to £4,357.

Passengers travelling north of the border from Edinburgh to Glasgow will see a rise of £114 to £4,198.

The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments set the cap based on July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, the Office for National Statistics has said.

Bruce Williamson, spokesman for campaign group Railfuture has hit out at the rise and insists it may now reach a point where passengers will “refuse to pay”. 

train

Passenger have been hit by another fare increase (Image: GETTY)

train

Prices of season tickets will increase by 2.8 percent (Image: GETTY)

READ MOREBBC Weather: 80mph storm sparks weekend travel alerts

The group also called for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation to be used to set fare increases.

The CPI rate increased to 2.1 percent last month but lower than the 2.8 percent which will set fare prices. 

Mr Williamson said: "It might be that we've now reached the point where we cannot simply put fares up and expect passengers to take the hit.

"They will just give up and refuse to pay.

“They will either find either another job or another form of transport."


train

Unions described the increase as a 'kick in the teeth' for passengers (Image: GETTY)

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash described the increase as a “kick in the teeth” for passengers.

Mr Cash said: "Yet another rail fare hike is a kick in the teeth for the UK's rail passengers who are already paying over the odds to travel on overcrowded, clapped out and unreliable trains.

"This is just corporate welfare for the greedy train companies on an industrial scale.

"Privatisation is at odds with an affordable and sustainable rail network. We need a publicly owned and nationally integrated railway now."

Official figures reveal over the past three years the number of journeys using season tickets has dropped from 712 million in 2015/16 to 625 million in 2018/19.

DON'T MISS

Hong Kong protest: Are flights from Hong Kong Airport suspended? [EXPLAINER]
UK business travellers risk being blocked from EU in no-deal Brexit [ANALYSIS] 
Greece wildfires mapped: UK Foreign Office issues travel warning  [MAPPED]

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, also blasted the rise and hit out at the service on offer paying commuters.

Mr Shirley also said the rate of increase should be linked to the the CPI rather the PRI.

He said: "Passengers already pay thousands of pounds to endure overcrowding, delays and cancellations.

"It's time to stop the rhetoric on fare increases.

“The Government should commit to January's fares rise being linked to CPI and a comprehensive package of rail fare reforms should follow after the Rail Review is complete."

train

A season ticket from Brighton to London will increase by £125 (Image: GETTY)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended the move and said the funds are needed to ensure train service run on time.

Mr Shapps told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: “I’m not delighted by it to be perfectly honest, as a train commuter.

"The truth is we do now have a situation where average wages are going up faster than inflation, so if you don't keep this tracking with inflation you are actually effectively putting less money into transport and less money into trains and you won't get them running on time doing that either."

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group also defended the hike in prices and said it falls below the rate of inflation.

The group said 98p in every £1 spent in fares goes back into running the railway.

The organisation's director of nations and regions Robert Nisbet said: "No one wants to pay more to get to work but by holding rises down to no more than inflation.

“Government is ensuring that money from fares continues to cover almost all of the day-to-day costs of running rail services.

"This means private sector and taxpayer money can go towards improving services for the long term."