Press release 30th December 2014

More pain for rail passengers

The annual fare rise kicks in on Friday, and fares are due to go up by 2.5% . "Osborne has yet again frozen fuel duty for motorists and with oil prices falling dramatically, motoring is becoming cheaper in real terms and rail travel becoming more expensive, so don`t be surprised if road congestion gets even worse along with pollution, accidents and global warming."  said Bruce Williamson from the campaign group Railfuture

"Fares need to reflect reality in terms of inflation, and with the most recent figures for CPI inflation just 1% and falling, this represents yet another unfair squeezing of rail passengers' wallets.

"There's a real danger that further fare increases will deter passengers from travelling and reduce the rail industry's income, increasing the support required from government. Lower fuel prices can only accelerate this effect.  The government needs to recognise this too  - lower fares might make actually more commercial sense.

"The next election is only 18 weeks away and we're calling on all political parties to put their plans for rail fares in their manifestoes.  We want a clear commitment to end inflation-busting fare rises, and to limit future increases to no more than CPI, which is the lower measure of inflation.

"The government has harmed the railway by allowing the media to think that fares would increase by 3.5%, which is what they did when the July RPI figure was announced in the middle of August. We all knew that they would drop the RPI+1%, but the media were full of the scare story with headlines of 3.5% everywhere rather than 2.5% for regulated fares and 2.1% average across all fares. The government should have announced its inevitable decision before the RPI figure was revealed.

"We also need to know where this extra money is going. Are we actually seeing any improvements to the passenger experience, or is this money just going to the train operating companies?"

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk

Despite the rises it isn’t all bad on the fares front. The train companies have introduced changes to the annual Gold Card that will save money – see http://www.railfuture.org.uk/article1532-Cut-the-cost-of-rail-travel, Railfuture also welcomed the introduction in 2014 of the Two Together card, which allows two adults to each get a third off their fares.

Railfuture has produced advice on how to reduce the cost of your rail travel – see http://www.railfuture.org.uk/Rail+user+help,