News story

Earnings outstrip rail fare increases for first time in a decade

A better deal for passengers as government action means regulated fares are set at inflation (RPI) of 1% for 2016.

Rail passengers.

Hardworking families will see an end to inflation-busting hikes in regulated rail fares thanks to a 5 year fares deal that will give passengers more value for money and help households with the cost of living.

The move by the government to keep regulated rail fare increases at Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation and no more for the life of this Parliament will save season-ticket holders around £425 each - enough for a new iPad or a weekend break - by 2020. Most journeys in 2014 were made using a regulated fare.

Figures released today (18 August 2015) by the Office of National Statistics show that the RPI figure for July - which is used by the government to calculate regulated fares for the following year - was 1%.

This means that no regulated rail fares will rise by more than that figure in 2016, making it the lowest fare increase since 2010. It also means that for the first time since 2003, people’s earnings are on average rising more quickly than fares. Latest figures show that earnings are increasing by 2.4%.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said:

As part of our long-term economic plan, we are investing record amounts in transforming the UK’s rail network in order to provide better journeys for everyone, and fares have an important role to play in delivering this investment.

But I know that many families are concerned about the cost of rail travel, which is why we are putting an end to above inflation fare increases. This will make a real difference to household budgets, saving season ticket holders around £425 each over the next five years.

It also means that for first time since 2002 wages are increasing by more than fares, which is real progress for the passenger.

The 5 year hold on regulated rail fares extends the caps put in place in 2014 and 2015, resulting in a saving of around £425 over the next 5 years for over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders.

In September 2014 the government also announced that train operating companies are no longer able to use a “flex” rule to raise some individual fares by up to 2% more than the permitted average increase.

The fares passengers pay will continue to support the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century, with £38 billion in spending to improve the network in the 5 years to 2019. The investment is set to deliver crucial benefits for passengers, including relief from crowding on some of the nation’s busiest routes.

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Published 18 August 2015