Rail passengers face a fresh round of fare increases today, provoking claims that the cost of rail travel is outpacing high street prices.
Average ticket prices will go up by 1.1 per cent in England, Wales and Scotland, which ministers said was below the annual increases in wage levels. But Labour countered that the latest wave of rises means commuters are paying 25 per cent more for season tickets than when David Cameron became Prime Minister.
Labour repeated its call for the nationalisation of rail services as it released research concluding passengers had been hit by a “truly staggering” rise of up to £2,000 since 2010.
Bruce Williamson of campaign group Railfuture claimed fares were “increasingly divorced from reality” as the Consumer Price Index showed high street prices have been stagnant for more than a year.
But Anthony Smith, chief executive of the watchdog Transport Focus, perhaps summed it up best:
In some parts of the country, given rail performance has been so dire, passengers will be amazed there are any fare rises at all.
Passengers are paying their part in the railways - rail revenue is heading towards £9 billion a year. The rail industry must now keep its side of the promise: deliver on the basics.
However, the rail minister, Claire Perry, said: “We’ve put a stop to inflation-busting increases in regulated fares until 2020. Earnings are outstripping rail fare increases for the first time in a decade.”