The average cost of train tickets in Britain has increased by 1.1% – the smallest annual increase for regulated fares in six years.
The rise for regulated fares was linked to July’s rate of retail prices index (RPI), a measure of inflation to determine the increase in the price of these fares.
In August 2015 it was confirmed that regulated fares would rise by 1 per cent in 2016 in line with RPI.
Train companies are free to charge whatever they want for unregulated fares though, such as off-peak leisure tickets.
The increase applies in England, Wales and Scotland as Northern Ireland is treated separately.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators and Network Rail, said:
“We know that nobody likes to pay more to travel by train, especially to get to work, and at 1.1 per cent this is the smallest average increase in fares for six years.
“On average 97p in every pound from fares is spent on trains, staff and other running costs. With passenger numbers doubling in the last 20 years, money from fares now almost covers the railway’s day-to-day operating costs.
“This allows government to focus its funding on building a bigger, better network when the railway is becoming increasingly important at driving economic growth, underpinning jobs, and connecting friends and families.
“As an industry, we are working closer together to deliver better stations, more trains and improved services, and to get more out of every pound we spend.”
Meanwhile, the UK rail industry continues to receive criticism over rail performance. More than one in 10 trains (10.7%) arrived at their final destination at least five minutes late in the past 12 months, according to data by Network Rail.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “In some parts of the country, given rail performance has been so dire, passengers will be amazed there are any fare rises at all.”
He added: “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.”
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: “Passengers are left paying through the nose to travel on unreliable and overcrowded services.
“Meanwhile, vast profits are being bled from our railways with huge amounts siphoned off by European state rail companies to subsidise their own domestic rail operations.
“It’s about time we had a British state rail operation run in our interests.”