UK: Chancellor George Osborne announces rail fare freeze

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne - Credit: Contributed

Chancellor George Osborne has announced the freeze on regulated rail fare rises will be extended for a further year into 2015.

The announcement means regulated ticket prices will increase by a maximum of 2.5% from January – the same level as Retail Price Index inflation this summer.

The Chancellor has also announced that train operating companies will no longer be able to increase individual fares by up to 2% more than the permitted average increase.

Before the announcement, train operating companies could have raised fares on some journeys by as much as 5.5%.

However, as a result of these measures, which will cost £100m in total by 2015/16, no regulated rail fare will rise by more than 2.5% in 2015, taking 3% off the maximum increase for a regulated fare.

These announcements extend the freeze that was brought in at last year’s Autumn Statement, and will be the second year in a row that regulated fare rises have been capped at inflation.

As a result of the changes, more than a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders will have made a combined saving of around £75 over 2014 and 2015.

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The government has also pledged more than £16billion of support for the rail industry over the period from 2014 to 2019 in order to improve the capacity and quality of a network which is seeing a vast growth in demand.

The government have said passenger fares will continue to support a major programme of rail improvements, including relief from crowding on some of the nation’s busiest routes.

Mr Osborne said: “Support for hardworking taxpayers is at the heart of our long term economic plan. It’s only because we’ve taken difficult decisions on the public finances that we can afford to help families further.

“I can announce that no regulated rail fares will rise by more than inflation in 2015, which together with last year’s freeze will save season ticket holders around £75 over 2014 and 2015.”