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More rail fare misery for Newbury commuters

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Train passengers will be hit with the largest fares rise in nearly a decade next year.

The Department for Transport announced ticket price increases in England will be capped at 3.8% from March 1.

The Welsh Government said it is “considering the options available to us”.

Train fares will increase next year
Train fares will increase next year

The figure of 3.8% is in line with July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

It will be the steepest increase since January 2013, according to figures from industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

A 3.8% rise would lead to hikes in the cost of annual season tickets from Newbury to London, up £184.68 from £4,860 to £5,044.68.

Standard weekly fares from Newbury to London would go up by £4.63 - from £121.80 to £126.40. While standard monthly fares from Newbury to London would go up by £17.73, from £466.50 to £484.23.

Increases are normally implemented on the first working day of every year, but have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris described the 3.8% rise as a “fair balance” which means the Government 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”.

He added that delaying the changes until March enables people to save money by giving them longer to renew their tickets at current prices.

Andy Bagnall, director-general of the RDG, welcomed the decision not to continue the 2021 policy of raising fares by RPI plus one percentage point.

He said: “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.”

But shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh claimed the “brutal” fares increase are “a nightmare before Christmas for millions of passengers”.

She continued: “Families already facing soaring taxes and bills will now be clobbered with an eye-watering rise in the cost of the daily commute.”

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