UK Government

Department for Transport : New Year heralds lower fares for many rail passengers

Press Release   •   Jan 04, 2010 11:25 GMT

The majority of commuters will benefit from cheaper tickets from Saturday as most regulated rail fares drop in price.

The majority of rail journey fares are regulated by the Government. Increases to most fares are capped at 1% above inflation with the changes implemented in January, based on the previous July's RPI figure. Last July's RPI figure was  -1.4%, so most regulated fares will now fall.

In August the Government also announced it had taken away the flexibility for operators to raise individual regulated fares by up to 5% above the national fare change, protecting passengers from unduly steep rises in future regulated fares.

Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said:

"The majority of rail journeys in this country are made on regulated fares and most of those rail fares will fall from Saturday. Passengers will welcome these reductions - regulated fares include the weekly, monthly and annual season tickets used by commuters as well as many day singles and returns and long distance off-peak fares.

"This is good news for many passengers, for the first time in a generation they will see the cost of their tickets fall. I hope that this will encourage more people to travel by train, which is also good news for the economy and the environment."

Also from Saturday 2 January travellers will be able to use their Oyster 'Pay As You Go' cards on London's rail network. The change means the majority of underground and overground services will be fully integrated for commuters travelling from railway stations in London.

Notes to editors

1.      Two train operators are currently excepted from the RPI+1% rule:

*  Southeastern has a higher cap of RPI +3% for five years from 2007. This is in recognition of historically low fares on Southeastern and to allow for the investment recently made in the Kent services.

*  In the Northern franchise, West Yorkshire PTE fares also have a higher cap of RPI +3% from 2007 until the end of the franchise to enable investment in additional trains in and around Leeds.

2.      Previously, train operators have been allowed to increase individual regulated fares by as much as 5% above the average cap on regulated fares so long as the average increase across their 'basket' of fares was no more than RPI+1%. Andrew Adonis announced in, February 2009, his intention to remove this flexibility for 2010.

3.      The regulation of rail fares in Scotland, Wales and Liverpool and London Overground are matters for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly Government, MerseyTravel and Transport for London respectively.

4.      Since 1997 regulated fares have risen by about 5% in real terms while disposable income has increased by over 20%.

5.      The RPI+1% formula does not apply to unregulated fares which are set on a commercial basis by train operators.

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