FRUSTRATED commuters have greeted news of a shock rise in rail prices with anger.
Average fares will go up by 6.2 per cent in the new year, after official figures revealed a greater-than-expected rise in the inflation rate.
Rail prices are based on the Retail Price Index, which reflects the cost of living. This rose to 3.2 per cent in July.
Train companies are allowed by the government to add another three per cent on top of that to give them the prices for their new year tickets.
But some tickets can go up by more than 11 per cent, as long as other ticket prices are slashed to give a 6.2 per cent average price increase.
Currently, the price of a season ticket from Portsmouth Harbour to London Waterloo is £4,480.
But if it increases by 6.2 per cent, that will rise to £4,758 – an increase of £278.
Andy Hawthorn, from Horndean, commutes from Petersfield to Surrey for work.
He said: ‘Increasing the prices by such a high margin is ridiculous, when the journeys are often delayed and uncomfortable.
‘With the new Hindhead Tunnel opening on the A3, I’ve been driving to and from work more often as it is.
‘With the prices rising even more in January, I’ll be driving to work all the time. It’s just not worth going by train.’
On Twitter, commuters called for the railways to be renationalised.
Jamie Richardson, of Southsea, said: ‘The price rise is ridiculous.
‘Clearly the people making policy don’t have to worry about making ends meet. Renationalise rail, it’s the only way.’
When they were under the control of the government, the taxpayer and the paying public used to split the cost of funding the railways roughly down the middle.
But now the rail firms are private companies, the government has reduced its funding centrally so rail passengers have to pay an increasingly bigger portion.
The 6.2 per cent figure will be used as a guide for train companies to set their prices, which they will do over the coming months, with the new prices from January.