Inflation rise shock for commuters

Train passengers board the South West Trains 450 series rolling stock
Train passengers board the South West Trains 450 series rolling stock
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COMMUTERS have greeted news of a shock rise in rail prices with calls to re-nationalise the railway.

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 the Retail Prices Index, which 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.

Commuter Chris Davies, from Southsea, said the cost to rail users is already too high. He said: ‘I do Basingstoke to Waterloo and it’s already prohibitive, especially on top of parking or bus fares to the station.’

Andy Hawthorn, from Horndean, commutes from Petersfield to Surrey for work. He said: ‘Increasing the prices but such a high margin is ridiculous, when the journeys are often delayed, uncomfortable and inconvenient.

‘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.’

Meanwhile, on Twitter, commuters called for the railways to be re-nationalised.

When they were under the control of the government, the tax payer 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.