Commuters from region facing steep fare rises as inflation creeps upwards

An Intercity train at Ipswich Station heading to London. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

An Intercity train at Ipswich Station heading to London. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

Commuters from East Anglian stations to London are facing rises of hundreds of pounds in their season ticket fares next year as inflation crept up in July.

How fares could go up next year

How fares could go up next year - Credit: Archant

The July Retail Prices Index figure is used as the yardstick by which rail companies can increase regulated fares – including season tickets and tickets bought on the day, both off-peak and for journeys at anytime.

This means that Greater Anglia will be able to increase its fares by an average of up to 3.6%. Not every fare will go up by that much from the start of January next year and this year’s fare increases in the Greater Anglia region averaged less than the maximum permitted figure.

However these figures mean that Greater Anglia could put the cost of commuting from Ipswich to Liverpool Street up by nearly £230 a year – and from Colchester by nearly £180 a year.

The exact fare increases will be announced in December with the new fares starting from January 1.

Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users' Federation. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users' Federation. Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

Over the last 10 years season ticket prices have risen by 40% – but rises were higher in the earlier years before the inflation cap came in.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: “Fares policy for regulated rail fares including season tickets and standard day returns is set by the government of the day and linked to the previous year’s Retail Price Index. Greater Anglia can set the price of some unregulated fares, including Advance Singles such as Norwich to London for £10.

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“We are constantly working to improve services and offer better value for money to our customers. We are currently investing huge amounts in the railway in East Anglia including £1.4 billion replacing every single train with brand new trains from 2019 and we’re spending £60 million improving stations.”

Derek Monnery from the Essex Rail Users’ Federation said his members felt they were still not seeing enough improvements despite the fare increases: “We are getting new trains, but they haven’t come through yet and some of the trains we see here are really not that great at all.

“Then there is the need for the government to invest on the track – and especially get the freight trains off the routes which hold things up and can cause similar problems.

“I don’t think people would be so irritated if we could see things happening to improve that situation, but it is not coming through at the moment,” he said.

Ipswich to Norwich is currently £3,300. A 3.6% increase would put this up to £3,418

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