Rail commuters are facing a 1.6% increase in season ticket prices – just like the government is asking people to return to work.
The cap on the annual increase in most regulated tariffs is related to the July retail price index inflation measure announced by the National Statistics Office on Wednesday.
Rail fares are usually increased every January, although it is speculated that ministers are considering delaying the increase in 2021 due to low passenger numbers.
The rise is a heavy blow to Boris Johnson's call for workers to go back to the office.
Yesterday's numbers suggested that road and public transport had returned – before the price hike became known.
The UK, Scottish and Welsh governments are regulating increases for around half of fares, including season tickets on most commuter routes, some round-trip off-peak tickets for long-distance travel and tickets for travel in major cities at any time.
The Rail and Road Office's rail regulator announced that regulated tariffs rose an average of 2.7% in January 2020, after the RPI was 2.8% in July 2019.
According to proposals from the industry association of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the fuel tax would be increased for the first time in a decade and the purchase of jet fuel would be increased by taxes
Rail commuters are faced with a 1.6% increase in season ticket prices
Unregulated tariffs, including pre- and main long-distance tickets, may be increased at the discretion of the railway company.
Examples of possible season ticket prices in the next year after an increase of 1.6% are:
– Brighton to London: increase from £ 80 to £ 5,060
– Preston Barrow-in-Furness: Increase from £ 69 to £ 4,353
– Edinburgh to Glasgow: increase from £ 67 to £ 4,267
The news is a heavy blow to trying to get people back to the downtown offices in order to get the economy going again.
It is feared that a price hike will encourage employees to stay at home and work remotely in order to keep costs down.
The passenger watchdog Transport Focus called for a comprehensive change in rail tariffs in order to encourage passengers to return to the railways after the decline in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Board chairman Anthony Smith said a system was needed that would fit the way we live and travel now, rather than season tickets, which were developed for gentlemen in the city over the last century.
The cities are still empty despite the government promising to go back to work to help the economy
Figures from the Ministry of Transport show that motor vehicle activity has practically returned to pre-pandemic levels. The use of public transport is increasing steadily, but much more slowly
He continued, “Our research shows that almost two out of three former rail commuters expect to work more from home, so we are now likely to travel less for work, both for commuting and business purposes.
"The government needs to go beyond freezing tariffs and get train companies to offer a combination of cheap deals, carnet-like bundles, flexible commuter travel cards and generally cheaper tariffs."
Transport ministry figures show that car use has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, but rail traffic is below a third of pre-crisis levels despite the loosening of lockdown restrictions.
All rail company revenue and cost risks were transferred to the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments in March to avoid franchise collapse.
This has already cost taxpayers at least £ 3.5 billion.
London: Apple's mobility trackers illustrate the increase in traffic on the streets around the capital, almost to the point of prepandemic. Public transport is also increasing, but is still struggling to fully recover
Birmingham: Driving is almost back to pre-lockdown levels, but public transportation hasn't reached the same heights as Apple trackers show
Manchester: A similar pattern is seen in the northwest despite the region's spike in some cases, as Apple trackers show
The UK government’s initial Emergency MAures Agreements (EMAs) run for six months, but tax-funded assistance is expected to continue.
Unions claim EMAs mean the UK railways are now publicly owned but that is being denied by the industry.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union called for tariffs to be reduced by 5% annually. The plan is to use £ 500m that would otherwise be paid to private companies over a 12-month period if the EMA were extended.
Mick Lynch, RMT's Assistant General Secretary, said: “After more than a decade of staggering price increases and an industry in crisis, tariff tinkering is just not good enough.
"Instead, we argue that stopping undue profiting from railroads as part of a long-term national strategy would mean reducing tariffs by 5% annually for our railways."
Darren Shirley, Director of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Today's increase in rail fares will do nothing to restore people's trust in the railways.
“The government needs to pay more than lip service to encourage people to use public transport. It must now also offer the financial incentives for this.
"Today's price hike is a missed opportunity to do just that."
How has your season ticket increased?
Woking to London – £ 3,440 – £ 3,495 – £ 55 rise
Ludlow to Hereford – £ 2,340 – £ 2,377 – £ 37 rise
Brighton to London (any route) – £ 4,980 – £ 5,060 – £ 80 rise
Liverpool to Manchester (any route) – £ 2,692 – £ 2,735 – £ 43 rise
Neath to Cardiff – £ 1,808 – £ 1,837 – £ 29 rise
Maidenhead to London – £ 3,276 – £ 3,328 – £ 52 rise
Whitehaven to Carlisle – £ 2,032 – £ 2,065 – £ 33 rise
Welwyn Garden City to London – £ 3,100 – £ 3,150 – £ 50 rise
Gloucester to Birmingham (any route) – £ 4,356 – £ 4,426 – £ 70 rise
Thetford to Norwich – £ 2,048 – £ 2,081 – £ 33 rise
Tweedbank to Edinburgh – £ 2,900 – £ 2,946 – £ 46 rise
Bangor to Llandudno – £ 1,204 – £ 1,223 – £ 19 rise
Stonehaven to Aberdeen – £ 1,428 – £ 1,451 – £ 23 rise
Weston-super-Mare to Bristol – £ 2,056 – £ 2,089 – £ 33 rise
Stirling to Glasgow (any route) – £ 2,292 – £ 2,329 – £ 37 rise
Edinburgh to Glasgow (each route) – £ 4,200 – £ 4,267 – £ 67 rise
Alnmouth to Newcastle – £ 2,240 – £ 2,276 – £ 36 rise
Plymouth to Exeter – £ 3,572 – £ 3,629 – £ 57 rise
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