Rail fares to rise by 3.4% - the biggest increase in five years

5 December 2017

Rail passengers in England, Scotland and Wales will be hit with average fare hikes of 3.4% from 2 January 2018, it’s been confirmed today.

The increase covers all national rail fares, with the price of unregulated fares set by the train companies.

Regulated fares, which account for around 40% of fares, are set by the devolved governments using July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation. It’s already been confirmed that these will rise by 3.6% from 2018 in England and Wales, and by 2.6% in Scotland.  

In Northern Ireland, fares are set by rail operator Translink. It says: “No decision has been taken on a fares revision for 2018 at this time.”

Today’s overall fares rise is the biggest increase in five years; ticket prices last rose by more than 3.4% in January 2013 when they increased by 3.9%. Last year, fares rose by a smaller 2.3%

Fares for travel from 2 January 2018 are live from today, which means season ticket holders hoping to beat the hikes need to buy an annual ticket that starts before 2 January 2018. 

‘Many passengers face stagnant or falling incomes while rail fares climb’

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, comments: “A chill wind will blow down England’s platforms in January as rail fare increases bite. Many passengers face stagnant or falling incomes while rail fares continue to climb. It is time that the fairer, clearer Consumer Prices Index formula is used as the basis for rail fare rises rather than the increasingly outmoded Retail Price Index.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which brings together train companies and Network Rail, adds: “Government controls increases to almost half of fares, including season tickets, with the rest heavily influenced by the payments train companies make to government.

“Alongside investment from the public and private sectors, money from fares is underpinning the railway’s long-term plan to change and improve. Working together, our plan will secure £85 billion of additional economic benefits while enabling further investment and improved journeys for customers, better connections to boost local communities and a bright future for our employees."

The RDG says 97p in every pound goes back into running and improving the railway.

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