Yorkshire commuters to face a rail season ticket price hike of almost 3%

Rail commuters in Yorkshire face an increase in season ticket costs next year of almost 3%.
Rail commuters in Yorkshire face an increase in season ticket costs next year of almost 3%.

Rail commuters in Yorkshire face an increase in season ticket costs next year of almost 3%.

The cap on the annual rise in regulated fares is linked to July's rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation, which was announced by the Office for National Statistics as 2.8%.

An example of some of the new prices in Yorkshire include:

An annual season ticket from Headingley/Bramley/Cottingley to Leeds will rise from £560 to £575

Prices from Horsforth and/or Kirkstall Forge to Leeds will rise from £634 to £651

From Burley Park to Leeds will rise by £13.20 meaning an annual ticket will go from £508 to £521.20

New Pudsey commuters will see the price go from £824 a year to £847.

Annual tickets from Morley to Leeds will go from £623 to £641.

Guiseley will see a £30 increase with annual tickets going from £1,076 to £1,106.

Rail campaign groups warned that commuters will "refuse to pay" if season ticket prices continue to be hiked.

They have also called for the lower Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation to be used to set fare increases, which are implemented from January 2 2020.

The CPI rate increased to 2.1% last month, the ONS said.

The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments regulate rises in around half of fares, including season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and tickets for travel around major cities at any time.

A cap on how much they can be increased is pegged to the July RPI figure, except for off-peak fares in Scotland for which RPI-1% is used.

Rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road said regulated fares went up by an average of 2.8% in January 2019, following the July 2018 RPI figure of 3.2%.

A 2.8% rise in season ticket prices would lead to an increase of more than £100 in the annual cost of getting to work for many commuters.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was "not delighted" about increasing rail fares.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier on Wednesday: "I'm not delighted by it, to be perfectly honest, as a train commuter.

"The truth is we do now have a situation where average wages are going up faster than inflation, so if you don't keep this tracking with inflation you are actually effectively putting less money into transport and less money into trains and you won't get them running on time doing that either."
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: "Every year commuters are being asked to pay more money for bad train services.

"The Government has sat back and allowed private train companies to cash in while people's pay has been held back. Continuous fare rises undermine urgent action to tackle the climate emergency by pricing people off the railways.

"Labour will bring our railways into public ownership so they are run in the interests of passengers, not private profit."

Research by passenger watchdog Transport Focus shows that fewer than a third (30%) of rail commuters are satisfied with the value for money of their ticket.

The organisation's director, David Sidebottom, said:" Transport Focus believes it's time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on calculations that use the Consumer Prices Index, rather than the discredited Retail Price Index.

"After recent disruption and a lot of misery over last winter, rail operators still have a great deal to improve."

Bruce Williamson, spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, told the PA news agency: "It might be that we've now reached the point where we cannot simply put fares up and expect passengers to take the hit.

"They will just give up and refuse to pay. They will either find either another job or another form of transport."

Why does the cost of train travel increase every year?
It has been the policy of successive governments to switch the burden of funding the railways from taxpayers to passengers.

How much more expensive have train fares become?
Office of Rail and Road figures show that between January 1995 - around the time the network was privatised - and January 2019, average fares increased in real terms by 21%.

When is the next increase?
Fares become more expensive on January 2 2020.

Who decides how much they go up by?
Increases in about 45% of fares are regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. The rest are decided by train companies.

Which fares are regulated?
Season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys, and tickets for travel around major cities at any time.

How is the cap on the rise in these fares calculated?
Rises are pegged to the July Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was 2.8%. This is apart from off-peak regulated fares in Scotland, which can increase by RPI minus 1%.

Where does the money go?
The Rail Delivery Group says 98p of every pound spent on train fares is invested back into the railway.

Is there any way of avoiding the fare rise?
Savvy commuters renew their season tickets in the days before the annual rise.

Any other tips on limiting the cost of train travel?
Passengers can save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak and booking in advance, although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly by commuters.