Why is my train ticket becoming more expensive?

Key questions answered on rail fares.

Neil Lancefield
Monday 28 February 2022 15:20 GMT
Annual rail fare rises in Britain are always a controversial issue (Ben Birchall/PA)
Annual rail fare rises in Britain are always a controversial issue (Ben Birchall/PA)

Annual rail fare rises in Britain are always a controversial issue.

The PA news agency answers some of the key questions about this year’s increases.

– What is happening?

Train fares in England and Wales will increase by up to 3.8% from Tuesday.

– What about Scotland?

Peak and off-peak regulated fares went up the same amount on January 24.

– Who determines how much more expensive my train ticket will be?

The cap on Britain’s fare rises is controlled by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.

– How did they calculate the increases for this year?

The cap matches the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation for July 2021.

– How does a 3.8% increase compare with previous years?

It will be the largest rise since January 2013.

– What do public transport campaigners say?

They want fares to be frozen amid the cost-of-living crisis, to encourage commuters to return and avoid higher numbers of cars on the road.

– Is there a difference in who sets regulated and unregulated fares?

Governments regulate rises in around half of fares including season tickets on most commuter routes.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, operators controlled increases in other fares.

– What has changed?

Governments now have control of all fares as a result of spending billions of pounds to take on operators’ financial liabilities during the virus crisis.

– How much more expensive has train travel become in recent years?

Office of Rail and Road figures show that between 2004 and 2021, average fares increased in real terms by 14.7%.

(PA Graphics)

– Where does the money go?

The Rail Delivery Group says 98p of every £1 spent on train tickets goes towards running and maintaining services.

– Is there any way of avoiding a rise in fares?

Savvy commuters can renew their season tickets in the days before an annual increase.

– Any other tips on limiting the cost of train travel?

Passengers can save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak, and booking in advance – although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly those made by commuters.

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