Rail commuters face huge hike in price of season tickets

Rail commuters face the prospect of a hike of at least 5.8 per cent in the price of season tickets in the new year following the announcement of today’s inflation figures.

And the increase could be even more if, as some fear, the government scraps the current annual price-rise formula.

Under the existing formula, train companies are allowed to raise regulated fares annually, which include season tickets, by 1pc above whatever the previous July’s retail price index (RPI) inflation figure is.

Today’s RPI figure for July was 4.8pc, which would mean a 5.8pc fares rise in January 2011.

However, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said that he is not in a position to say whether the current RPI plus 1pc formula will remain, meaning that fares could rise in excess of this 5.8pc figure.

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Ashwin Kumar, rail director of train customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “Passengers continue to tell us their top priority for improvement on the railway is better value for money.

“With the whole country feeling nervous about our economic prospects, passengers will expect train companies to show restraint next January. Now is not the time for train companies to sweat passengers off the train.”

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