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Price of rail travel to go up - again.

Byline: JILLIAN MACMATH Reporter echo.newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

TRAIN passengers face another increase in season ticket costs next year of almost 3%.

The cap on the annual rise in regulated fares is linked to July's rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation, which was yesterday announced by the Office for National Statistics as 2.8%.

Rail campaign groups warned that commuters will "refuse to pay" if season ticket prices continue to be hiked. At the start of this year, train fares went up by an average of 3.1% in Wales and England and 2.8% in Scotland.

Rail union RMT yesterday held a series of protests against the rising fares at stations across the UK, including one at Cardiff Central.

A poll of rail users carried out by the union found 60% thought rail fares were either "poor" or "awful" value for money.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT activists and supporters will be calling for our railways to be run as an affordable and accessible public service and not for private profit.

"Every year, millions of pounds are siphoned out of the system as private shareholder profit rather than being reinvested in the network "Only 10% of stations are fully staffed yet UK passengers pay some of the highest fares in Europe.

"The increase announced this month will only serve to make the rail network less affordable.

"Privatisation is at odds with a sustainable rail network - we need a publicly owned and nationally integrated railway now."

The rise covers about 40% of tickets, including off-peak returns on longer journeys, season tickets and anytime fares.

Prices for other unregulated tickets, like super off-peak and advance, are set by train companies in December.

The increase will be based on the RPI inflation measure for July of 2.8%, but not all regulated fares will rise by the RPI amount.

Train companies can choose to increase some while keeping others the same, or even reduce fares on some routes. The RPI amount just caps the maximum increase. The rail fare changes have to be agreed by the relevant body that regulates the fares in each nation - the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government or the Department for Transport in England.

Research by passenger watchdog Transport Focus shows that fewer than a third (30%) of rail commuters are satisfied with the value for money of their ticket.

The organisation's director, David Sidebottom, said: "Transport Focus believes it's time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on calculations that use the Consumer Prices Index, rather than the discredited Retail Price Index.

"After recent disruption and a lot of misery over last winter, rail operators still have a great deal to improve."

Bruce Williamson, spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, said: "It might be that we've now reached the point where we cannot simply put fares up and expect passengers to take the hit.

"They will just give up and refuse to pay. They will either find either another job or another form of transport."

HOW MUCH YOU'LL PAY..| Swansea to Cardiff Current single ticket: PS11.70 New fare for single ticket: PS12.03 Current monthly season ticket: PS172.50 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS177.33 | Swansea to London Current single ticket: PS50.60 New fare for single ticket: PS52.02 Current monthly season ticket: PS1,526.10 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS1,568.83 | Cardiff to London Current single ticket: PS64.10 New fare for single ticket: PS65.89 Current monthly season ticket: PS1,250 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS1,285 | Cardiff to Bridgend Current single ticket: PS5.20 New fare for single ticket: PS5.35 Current monthly season ticket: PS100.70 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS103.52 | Cardiff to Pontypridd Current single ticket: PS4.70 New fare for single ticket: PS4.83 Current monthly season ticket: PS100.70 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS103.52 | Cardiff to Newport Current single ticket: PS5.30 New fare for single ticket: PS5.45 Current monthly season ticket: PS78.80 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS81.01 | Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil Current single ticket: PS6.10 New fare for single ticket: PS6.27 Current monthly season ticket: PS112.90 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS116.06 | Cardiff to Rhymney Current single ticket: PS6.10 New fare for single ticket: PS6.27 Current monthly season ticket: PS112.90 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS116.06 | Cardiff to Aberdare Current single ticket: PS6.10 New fare for single ticket: PS6.27 Current monthly season ticket: PS112.90 Increased fare for monthly season ticket: PS116.06
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 15, 2019
Words:769
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