New age of the train: fare rises fail to deter Britons

  • @jerometaylor

Ever-increasing ticket prices are doing little to put people off using Britain's railways, with 2011 set to become another record-breaking year for the UK rail network.

Figures released today by the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) will show a continued increase in rail passengers over the summer, with the final total expected to surpass last year's 1.32 billion journeys.

Atoc's figures reveal that the number of journeys was 5.3 per cent higher in June to September than the same period last year. This was the third quarterly rise this year. Atoc said people were turning to rail travel partly because fuel prices in September were 18 per cent higher than the same month last year. Demand has endured in spite of a continuing increase in ticket prices, with Britain's trains still the most expensive to travel on in Europe.

Despite concerns that lower income families are being priced out of train travel, the Government recently approved above-inflation price increases that will push up the cost of many commuter journeys by as much as 8 per cent in January 2012.

David Sidebottom, director of travel watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "It is important that fares are not used to price off demand and that money is reinvested to ensure passengers can get seats and receive a reliable service."