Rail fares to increase

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The Independent Online

Some main line rail fares will rise today, with Tube and London bus ticket prices also increasing.

But nearly all main line season ticket holders, whose fares are regulated and inflation-linked, will either pay less or have their prices frozen due to the low level of RPI inflation earlier this year.

However, some unregulated fares, such as some off-peak tickets, will rise by as much as 15 per cent.

And in London, Tube fares are going up by an average of 3.9 per cent, with average bus fares soaring 12.7 per cent.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said the average fare rise for main line tickets was 1.1 per cent.

Season ticket holders on services run by the Southeastern train company, however, will pay 1.6 per cent more this year to take account of extra investment and the new 140mph Javelin trains now running on London to Kent services.

Some Southeastern unregulated fares will go up by as much as 7.3 per cent, although there will be no fare rises at all on services run by a number of companies, including National Express East Anglia, First Capital Connect, TransPennine Express and Merseyrail

The 15 per cent rise is on a supersaver fare from London to Swindon in Wiltshire, which goes up to £23.

Atoc chief executive Michael Roberts said the majority of people travelling by rail would "see a fall, no rise or an increase below inflation".

The 1.1 per cent average rise was the lowest since rail privatisation in the mid-1990s, he added.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said it was "good news" that so many fares were going down.

But Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said he was concerned that train companies were "tinkering with off-peak ticket restrictions, effectively forcing passengers into buying more expensive tickets".

The Campaign for Better Transport said the fall in regulated fares was "too little, too late for passengers who are already paying hundreds of pounds more because of the Government's policy of increasing fares".

London Mayor Boris Johnson defended the Tube and bus increases in the capital.

He said: "I know the fares' rises will be hard but, believe me, without them these huge improvements in our quality of life - and the retention of the standing of our city - would not be possible."

From today the Oyster pay-as-you-go tickets, used extensively on the Underground and on London buses, will be accepted on all main line rail services in Greater London.