Rail fares in the UK are set to rise by an average of 3.4% in 2018, the biggest jump since 2013.
The news comes just after we found out the new ‘Millennial Railcard’ for 26-30-year-olds was on the way, and doesn’t provide quite the same high.
According to the Rail Delivery Group, it is the first time since then that the increase has been higher than the current Consumer Prices Index inflation figure of 3%. The current rise is capped at 3.6%, with fares on some routes expected to reach that level of increase.
Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, called the latest rise a ‘kick in the teeth’ for passengers.
“[British passengers] will still be left paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed out, unreliable trains where private profit comes before public safety,” Cash said.
“For public sector workers and many others in our communities who have had their pay and benefits capped or frozen by this Government these fare increases are another twist of the economic knife while the private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank,” he added.
Public sector pay has been frozen or subject to restricted increases since 2010, while the cost of travel has consistently risen over the same period, and the latest fare announcement comes amidst parliamentary debate into public sector pay.
The Rail Delivery Group stressed that around 97% of fares are reinvested into the service, though this has not been enough for the group to avoid some criticism.
Rail fares have already risen by 27% since 2010, twice the rate of wages, & the latest 3.6% hike is the steepest in 5 years. Meanwhile, passenger numbers are in decline. It's unfair & unsustainable to price people off our railway. We need affordable fares & public ownership now!— Andy McDonald MP (@AndyMcDonaldMP) December 5, 2017
While we have seen an increase each year of the 2010s, the lowest jump has been 1.1% (2010 and 2016) while the highest has been the 6.2% climb we witnessed in January 2011.
News of the latest increase comes amid confirmation that a trial of a new 26-30 railcard is to begin this week, while the Rail Delivery Group said that cheap advance fares will now be available on the day.
Increases by year (figures via Rail Delivery Group):