An expected hike in rail fares in England will be less than July’s retail price index to help commuters weather the cost of living crisis, the government has announced.
The price increase, which comes into effect next year, will be lower than the rate of inflation, according to BBC News and The Times.
The amount by which train fares increase each year is calculated using the retail price index for the preceding July. Ahead of announcing the 2023 fare on Wednesday, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed to the BBC it would not increase fares by as much as the July RPI figure.
A DfT spokesman said the increase, which normally comes into effect in January, will be postponed until March to “help struggling households”.
They added: “The government is taking decisive action to reduce the impact of inflation on fares during the cost-of-living crisis and will not increase fares as much as the July RPI figure.”
It is not yet clear how much smaller the increase will be compared to this RPI figure.
The PA news agency has reached out to DfT for comment.
Activists have campaigned for the government to scrap the RPI method of calculating annual fare increases.
Paul Tuohy of the Campaign for Better Transport told the Daily Mail that even a small increase in fares could dissuade large numbers of commuters from trains altogether
He added: “We urgently need a fare freeze for 2023.”
Rail industry bosses and the Aslef union are expected to hold formal talks in the coming days after a strike on Saturday paralyzed large parts of Britain’s network.
Pickets have been set up across Britain including in Ashford, London, Hull, Manchester and Liverpool amid disputes over jobs, pay and working conditions.
More strikes are planned for Thursday and Friday, with members of the RMT and TSSA unions staging industrial action.
Earlier this year, the biggest increase in rail fares in almost a decade added more than £100 to the cost of many annual passes.
Analysis of fares by PA showed that commuters have been hit hard by fare increases of up to 3.8% in England and Wales.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/rail-fare-increase-in-england-will-be-below-inflation-rate-government-says-41911916.html Rail fare increase in England will be below inflation rate, Government says