Train fares could rise by 1.6 per cent

PUBLISHED: 14:30 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:27 20 August 2020

Fare increases have hit commuter pockets.

Fare increases have hit commuter pockets.

© Chris Rout / Alamy

Train fares are set to rise by 1.6 per cent in 2021 in line with inflation, it was announced today.

From January, yearly travel tickets to London are estimated to increase by £81.22 from Royston, £63.42 from Stevenage, £59.39 from St Albans, and £49.60 from WGC.

This is significantly less than the 2020 increase in Herts of 2.7 percent, when the Retail Price Index (RPI) figures were announced for July, which meant an over £100 increase in fares.

However, The Times is reporting that inflation rises could be delayed till March or scrapped altogether and said ministers have refused to commit to the rise.

They told the national newspaper, the government is “considering the rail fares package for January and will provide an update in due course”.

Many rail groups argue the lower inflation rate called the Consumer Price Index (CPI) should have been used as it would have meant a lower fare increase. In July, CPI rose by 1 per cent from 0.6 per cent in June.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said today: “People’s feelings about travel, and the way they use public transport, have changed. While the rail leisure travel may bounce back, 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.

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“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.

“To get Britain moving again in the coming months, tickets that fit the way we live and travel now are needed, not just season tickets designed for city gents in the last century.

“Like the government’s restaurant deal, we need a ‘Head Out to Help Out’ campaign to help get the country on the move again, boost the economy and reduce traffic on our roads.”

A review into rail travel putting the commuter at the heart of decision-making has been promised, to deliver a white paper – a government policy document – reforming travel.

However, Keith Williams, independent chair of the Rail Review, has yet to release his full report.

Mr Williams said on July 16 that he is looking at simplifying fares and ticketing.

“To create a modern, customer focused railway we must tackle fares reform,” he said. “The structure hasn’t been substantially updated since 1995 and is holding back innovation and customer-focused improvements across the network.”

Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield and transport secretary, has been asked for a comment and we will update the article when we have one.


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