Train passengers in Portsmouth and across the UK set for highest fare increase in nine years

RAILWAY passengers will face with the largest rise in fares for nearly a decade from next year.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 1:16 pm

The Department for Transport announced that ticket prices will increase by 3.8 per cent from March 1, 2022.

This will be the steepest price hike since 2013, according to figures from industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

The rise is in line with July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation measure, and the transport minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said this will guarantee record investment in the railways.

A file photo of Fratton railway station today in 2008. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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He said: ‘Capping rail fares in line with inflation while tying it to the July RPI strikes a fair balance.

‘This ensures that we can continue to invest record amounts into a more modern, reliable railway, ease the burden on taxpayers and protect passengers from the highest RPI in years.’

Usually, ticket price increases happen on the first working day each year.

They are now delayed until March, and have been since the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

The transport minister said organising the timing allows for customers to save money.

He added: ‘Delaying the changes until March 2022 offers people the chance to save money by renewing their fares at last year’s price.

‘That includes the 100,000 people who are already making savings with cheaper and more convenient flexible season tickets.’

The Department for Transport also announced the Book with Confidence scheme will be extended until March 31, 2022.

It allows passengers to change their journey until the night before departure – without being charged a fee.

Customers can also cancel their tickets and receive a refund in the form of rail vouchers.

Andy Bagnall, director general of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘The government’s decision to hold fares down in line with July’s inflation is welcome compared to last year’s above-inflation increase.

‘It is important that fares are set at a level that will encourage more people to travel by train in the future, helping to support a clean and fair recovery from the pandemic.

‘We know the railway must not take more than its fair share from the taxpayer, which is why the rail industry is working to create a financially sustainable and more passenger-focused service that will both keep costs down long-term and attract people back to the train.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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