Rail travelers could be hit by the biggest fare hike in a decade

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    Regulated fare increases are charged differently in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

    Regulated rail tariffs are a decentralized matter and it is up to the Department for Transport for England, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government and Translink of Northern Ireland to set the tariffs. Here are their current guidelines:

    • England and Wales: This year the regulated tariff increases were limited to RPI + 1%. According to today’s figures, this would mean an increase of 4.8%. Before that, however, they were capped at last July’s RPI, which would mean an increase of 3.8%.
    • Scotland: The regulated prime tariffs rose by the July RPI this year, which based on today’s figures would mean an increase of 3.8%.
    • Northern Ireland: Rail fares are not tied to RPI and are instead set by Translink, the company that operates Northern Ireland’s local public transport.

    If decentralized governments continue to use the current methodology for calculating fares for 2022, we could see some of the largest increases in over a decade. For example, a 4.8% fare increase could lead to the following increases in the cost of annual tickets:

    • Brighton to London (each way): From £ 245 to £ 5,353.
    • Liverpool to Manchester (each way): Up to £ 132 to £ 2,892.
    • From Neath to Cardiff: Up to £ 89 to £ 1,941.

    What did rail companies and the government say?

    A DfT spokesman said: “No decision has yet been made on the national rail tariffs. The government is considering a variety of options and we will announce our decision in due course. Any tariff adjustments are being considered in the context of a broader rail restoration package aimed at getting passengers back on the network. More information will follow later this year. “

    A Scottish government spokesman added: “We will take into account the announcement of the RPI figure for July as we review options for future tariffs and as part of the broader work on creating a fully operational and functioning rail network following the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    A spokesman for Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail companies, said: “We don’t expect the government to announce fares for 2022 until later in the year, as it did last year.”

    We contacted Translink to find out if it plans to increase rail fares in Northern Ireland next year and we’ll update this story when we know more.

    Additional coverage by the press association.



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