Passenger watchdog urges rail travellers to check now to avoid fare rises next year

Many passengers soon to renew their rail season tickets are again facing price rises that will, in some places, feel steep.

This is in spite of the welcome Government decision to limit regulated fares in England to an overall limit of the inflation figure plus one per cent, rather than the three per cent that was previously proposed. It also appears that train companies are exercising some restraint by not using the full flexibility they are allowed to adjust season ticket fares on individual routes.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said:

“Passengers will feel this pain.  After years of above-inflation fare rises, fresh increases are piling pressure on already high fares. Government and the rail industry must now work together to deliver on the welcome promise to get fare rises in line with inflation.”

Currently 42 per cent of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of their ticket – and this drops to just 29 per cent for commuters. 

The new prices for off-peak and other fares should be available early in December – it will then be clear if the apparent restraint shown on season ticket levels has fed through to other ticket types.

A good consumer tip from Passenger Focus – check the price of your season ticket, and if it is going up, buy your ticket by 1 January  to pay this year’s prices. This could save you pounds!

The table below shows changes on a selection of season tickets. Please tell us about your fare changes – up, the same or down? Check out our forum to share your  experience with other passengers.

 Table of examples

Annual Season ticket rates. The route selected is the 'Any Permitted' option unless otherwise stated.

Train operator

Journey

Jan-08

Jan-09

Jan-10

Jan-11

Jan-12

Jan-13

change % 2012 to 2013

change £ 2012 to 2013

Southeastern (not High Speed)

Gillingham (Kent)-London Term.

£2,740

£3,020

£3,068

£3,324

£3,524

£3,672

4.2%

£148

 

Canterbury - London Terminals

£3,480

£3,780

£3,840

£4,328

£4,588

£4,860

5.9%

£272

 

Tonbridge - London Terminals

£2,740

£3,000

£3,048

£3,408

£3,608

£3,796

5.2%

£188

South West Trains

Guildford - London Terminals

£2,656

£2,760

£2,728

£2,916

£3,092

£3,224

4.3%

£132

 

Portsmouth - London Terminals

£3,808

£3,984

£3,940

£4,224

£4,480

£4,668

4.2%

£188

 

Bournemouth - London Terminals

£4,888

£5,128

£5,080

£5,424

£5,748

£5,988

4.2%

£240

c2c

Basildon - London Terminals

n/a

£2,188

£2,176

£2,304

£2,440

£2,540

4.1%

£100

First Great Western

Didcot Parkway - Oxford

£884

£936

£936

£992

£1,048

£1,092

4.2%

£44

 

Bath Spa - Bristol Temple Mds

n/a

£1,300

£1,228

£1,324

£1,400

£1,460

4.3%

£60

 

Barnstaple - Exeter St David's

n/a

£1,592

£1,588

£1,680

£1,780

£1,856

4.3%

£76

 

St Austell - Truro

n/a

£748

£748

£792

£836

£872

4.3%

£36

 

Newbury - Reading

£1,268

£1,344

£1,340

£1,416

£1,500

£1,564

4.3%

£64

 

Reading - London Terminals

£3,328

£3,492

£3,388

£3,584

£3,800

£3,960

4.2%

£160

 

Oxford - London Terminals

£3,892

£3,996

£3,880

£4,104

£4,348

£4,532

4.2%

£184

Southern

Rye - Ashford International

£868

£928

£924

£996

£1,052

£1,088

3.4%

£36

 

Hove - London Victoria

£3,280

£3,280

£3,280

£3,532

£3,708

£3,860

4.1%

£152

 

Eastbourne - London Victoria

£3,400

£3,592

£3,592

£3,868

£4,060

£4,228

4.1%

£168

Chiltern

Aylesbury - London Terminals

£3,060

£3,200

£3,184

£3,340

£3,520

£3,632

3.2%

£112

 

High Wycombe-London Terminals

n/a

£2,760

£2,748

£2,900

£3,072

£3,200

4.2%

£128

NXEA / Greater Anglia

Colchester - London Terminals

£3,740

£3,960

£3,940

£4,140

£4,376

£4,556

4.1%

£180

 

Shenfield - London Terminals

£2,320

£2,460

£2,468

£2,580

£2,720

£2,704

-0.6%

-£16

First Capital Connect

Huntingdon - London Terminals

£3,920

£4,020

£4,004

£4,260

£4,512

£4,700

4.2%

£188

 

Hertford - London Terminals

£2,120

£2,200

£2,188

£2,320

£2,456

£2,556

4.1%

£100

 

Cambridge - London Terminals

£3,640

£3,780

£3,764

£4,000

£4,240

£4,400

3.8%

£160

London Midland

Worcester - Kidderminster

£704

£748

£748

£792

£840

£876

4.3%

£36

 

Northampton - London Terminals

£3,884

£4,148

£4,128

£4,448

£4,756

£4,980

4.7%

£224

CrossCountry

Gloucester - Birmingham

£2,872

£3,044

£3,032

£3,300

£3,496

£3,640

4.1%

£144

 

Burton-on-Trent - Derby

£984

£1,064

£1,060

£1,152

£1,220

£1,268

3.9%

£48

Northern

Morpeth - Newcastle

£864

£916

£916

£968

£960

£1,008

5.0%

£48

 

Skipton - Leeds

n/a

£1,508

£1,500

£1,588

£1,684

£1,756

4.3%

£72

NXEC / East Coast

Durham - Newcastle

£928

£984

£984

£1,040

£1,100

£1,148

4.4%

£48

 

Newark - Doncaster

£2,172

£2,304

£2,296

£2,428

£2,572

£2,680

4.2%

£108

 

Peterborough - London Terminals

£5,560

£5,892

£5,892

£6,232

£6,608

£6,888

4.2%

£280

TransPennine Express

Manchester - Preston

n/a

£2,236

£2,228

£2,356

£2,496

£2,600

4.2%

£104

East Midlands Trains

Loughborough - Leicester

£800

£848

£852

£908

£960

£1,000

4.2%

£40

 

Kettering - London Terminals

n/a

£5,364

£5,342

£5,608

£5,940

£6,220

4.7%

£280

Virgin Trains

Oxenholme - Preston

£2,192

£2,324

£2,316

£2,452

£2,600

£2,708

4.2%

£108

Merseyrail

Ellesmere Port - Chester

n/a

£648

£648

£676

£704

£720

2.3%

£16

First ScotRail

North Berwick - Edinburgh

£1,300

£1,380

£1,376

£1,456

£1,544

£1,604

3.9%

£60

 

Tain - Inverness

n/a

£1,040

£1,036

£1,096

£1,160

£1,204

3.8%

£44

 

Stirling - Glasgow

n/a

£1,652

£1,644

£1,740

£1,844

£1,916

3.9%

£72

Arriva Trains Wales

Caerphilly - Cardiff Queen St.

n/a

£756

£752

£800

£840

£880

4.8%

£40

 

Llanelli - Swansea

n/a

£520

£504

£536

£592

£624

5.4%

£32

 

Bangor (Gwynedd) - Llandudno

n/a

£928

£924

£980

£1,084

£1,140

5.2%

£56

 

Ludlow - Hereford

n/a

£1,648

£1,616

£1,712

£1,892

£1,992

5.3%

£100

   

Level of RPI

5.0%

-1.4%

4.8%

5.0%

3.2%

   

 

Notes to editors

  • The season ticket prices shown in the table are not statistically representative and must not be used to draw conclusions about a train operator's policy other than on the particular flow shown.
  • Fares are standard class, valid by 'any permitted route' unless otherwise shown. Fares to London are to 'London Terminals' or to a specified London terminus, rail-only.

Sources:
January 2008 - January 2011: National Fares Manuals.
January 2012 and January 2013: National Rail Enquiries
The governments of Scotland and Wales regulate fare increases within those countries. Both have previously also used the inflation plus one per cent formula.

  • Having some fares regulated is clearly in passengers’ interests. However, the way that train companies are allowed flexibility to set fares on individual routes can result in deeply unfair variations in increases. While we understand the need for some flexibility, we strongly believe that this system needs to be changed.
  • Passenger Focus is the official, independent consumer organisation representing the interests of rail users nationally and bus, coach and tram users across England outside London. We want to make a difference for rail, bus, coach and tram passengers.

We’ll do this by:

- providing authoritative advice for industry based on sound research

- securing improvements to services – both big and small-scale improvements

- helping passengers with advice and information

- campaigning for change

- acting on rail passenger complaints

  • To see the Passenger Focus response to the Government’s fares and ticketing review, click here
  • For further information please contact:

Sara Nelson, Head of Communications
Tel: 0300 123 0820 / 07918 626 125
or e-mail: sara.nelson@passengerfocus.org.uk