Fares to rise 3.2% in January – but rail reform urgently needed

RAIL fares are set to rise by up to 3.2% from January next year despite calls for a freeze following months of strikes and timetable problems.

This is marginally lower than last year’s 3.6% rise. However, the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and the train operators, says reforms are needed across the industry.

The rise will affect most ticket types and is still based on the retail prices index (RPI) for July, in spite of calls in previous years to base increases on the consumer prices index (CPI), which tends to be a lower figure of inflation. Use of RPI is no longer recommended by the Office of National Statistics.

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Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has stirred up rail unions by suggesting if CPI is used to calculate rail fare increases, then the same formula should be used by train operators on which to base staff wage increases.

Mr Grayling said: “I am not opposed to above inflation pay increases being individually negotiated between trade unions and employers in the industry where there are productivity or similar improvements that create the financial headroom for such deals.

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Right: Passengers have a tendency to avoid ticket vending machines because of the increased risk of buying the wrong ticket for their journey.

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