Commuters hit by 2.8 per cent rail fare increase in 2020

Fare increases have hit commuter pockets.

Fare increases have hit commuter pockets. - Credit: Alamy

Commuters will be hit by a 2.8 per cent rail fare increase in 2020, it was confirmed today by the Department for Transport.

From January, yearly travel tickets to London will rise by an estimated £138.21 from Royston, £107.97 from Stevenage, £107.18 from St Albans, and £84.45 from Welwyn Garden City.

An increase of around £100 in Herts is down to ticket prices being linked to a way of calculating inflation called the Retail Price Index (RPI) instead of the much lower inflation rate called the Consumer Price Index (CPI) - which could have meant an increase of 2.1 per cent.

The previous transport secretary Chris Grayling said RPI was "difficult to justify" and "should be a thing of the past".

And Welwyn Hatfield parliamentary candidate Rosie Newbigging said that her rival for the seat, MP Grant Shapps, the now Transport Secretary, agreed with freezing fares last year in response to the botched summer timetable roll-out by Govia.

"The hypocrisy of Mr Shapps calling for fares to be frozen only a year ago, and now he's in a position to act failing to follow through is astounding," Ms Newbigging said.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP, who was appointed to the cabinet in July, said it was "tempting" to advocate for lower fares.

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"But we all know that money is needed to invest in our railway too," said Mr Shapps.

"A bit of a vicious circle, but I intend to find the long-term solution."

A poll conducted by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) found that 60 per cent of rail users think rail fares are either poor or awful value for money, and 73 per cent agree with the statement "that their train company is most motivated by making a profit rather than providing a good service for passengers."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Only 10 per cent of stations are fully staffed, yet UK passengers are getting ripped off on a daily basis. The increase will only serve to make the rail network less affordable and accessible for the travelling public."

Mr Shapps said he was looking forward to the rail review, currently being carried out by Keith Williams, which will be published in the autumn.

He will likely make changes to services based on the conclusions of the review.

Selected yearly fare increases are as follows:

Baldock - £124.54

Harpenden - £110.32

Hatfield - £78.62

Hitchin - £113.90

Letchworth - £121.74

Potters Bar - £62.16

Royston - £138.21

St Albans - £107.18

Stevenage - £107.97

Welwyn Garden City - £84.45