Rail fares increase to nearly 6 per cent in 2023

The DfT set the cap at 5.9% for fares that are regulated by the Government, including season tickets, off-peak return tickets on a long-distance journey, and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.

They shared that the increase is 6.4% lower than the inflation figure fare rises are historically based on.

Unregulated fares are set by train operators. However, their decisions are heavily influenced by the Government due to contracts introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Rail fares to increase in England from March 2023

Speaking of the increase, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This is the biggest-ever Government intervention in rail fares.

“I’m capping the rise well below inflation to help reduce the impact on passengers.

“It has been a difficult year and the impact of inflation is being felt across the UK economy. We do not want to add to the problem.

“This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who help pay for them.”

Previously, annual increases in fares were implemented on the first working day of each year, but have been delayed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the railway was privatised during the 1990s, regulated fare rises have not been one percentage point above the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

The RPI figure for the previous July is normally used, which this year was 12.3%.

The DfT said “for this year only” it has aligned the increase with July’s average earnings growth.

However, not everyone has agreed with the rise, as Labour attacked the 5.9% increase.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “This savage fare hike will be a sick joke for millions reliant on crumbling services.

“People up and down this country are paying the price for 12 years of Tory failure.”

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