What a rail season ticket from Ipswich to London could cost next year

Greater Anglia is seeing few commuters heading to London's Liverpool Street Station. Picture: GREATE

Greater Anglia is seeing few commuters heading to London's Liverpool Street Station. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Rail season ticket holders from Ipswich to London could see their fares break the £7,000 barrier in January if the government’s usual funding formula for ticket prices is applied.

That would see the price of season tickets and walk-on off peak tickets rise by 1.6% – bringing a season ticket from Ipswich to Liverpool Street up by £111 to £7,055 and put an off-peak return ticket up by 72p to £45.42.

The rises are based on the July inflation figure which has just been announced as 1.6%.

However the government is set to announce a new emergency funding scheme for the rail industry next month in a bid to cover the industry which saw passenger numbers disappear during the lockdown.

Although people are now allowed to travel by train, across the country passenger numbers are now only about 20% of their pre-lockdown figure and it is impossible for rail companies to survive without government support.

MORE: Passengers are still not returning to trains in large numbers

There is speculation that there could be new moves at the end of September to try to tempt people back on to public transport – and that could involve changes to fare structures.

If the current formula is retained it would see the cost of season tickets from Colchester increase by £87 a year to £5,499, from Manningtree an increase of £97 a year to £6,149 and from Stowmarket a rise of £115 to £7,283. These figures are for tickets to Liverpool Street station and do not include the cost of Tube or bus travel in London.

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The government is aware that commuter traffic has been among the hardest hit sector following the lockdown – with many businesses in London still not operating with many people in their offices and there are suggestions that many commuters will continue to work from home after the pandemic threat is over.

Passenger watchdog Transport Focus called for a major shake-up of rail fares to encourage passengers back to the railways following the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Our research tells us almost two in three former rail commuters expect to work from home more so we will probably now travel less for work, both commuting and on business.

“The Government must go above and beyond a fares freeze and get train companies to offer a combination of cut-price deals, carnet-style ‘bundles’, flexible season tickets for commuters and better-value-for-money fares across the board.”

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