Rail Fares in the UK are set annually in January, based on The Retail Price Index (RPI) for July each year. In July 2020 the RPI rose by 1.6% – Mainly due to the higher prices for road fuel. The RPI Rate in the month of July has become a long-run way of calculating the New Year changes to rail fares, but this link still has to undergo confirmation from Ministers at the Department for Transport (DfT)
What does this mean for rail fares?
At the present moment, we are still unsure. An announcement about any changes to fares in January is awaited from the DfT and whether the figure for July is set to be used this year amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic, has yet to be fully confirmed.
Speaking about the matter, The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) Director of Nations & Regions, Robert Nisbet, said:
“Decisions about regulated rail fares, including season tickets, are taken by governments who rightly make the choice about the balance between how much farepayers and taxpayers contribute. We know that the best way to support economic recovery now and keep fares down in the future is to get more people travelling by train.”
Meanwhile, the RMT union – the main union of UK Railways – says if there is a rise then that will be proof that the government is ‘out of touch’. The RMT’s senior assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said: ’The fact that this Government appears to be pushing ahead with yet another extortionate fare rise in January shows just how out of touch they are. This regressive fare increase hits the low paid hardest and will only serve to price more passenger off our railways and push even more people into their cars at a time when rail is in crisis.
’What we urgently need to see is bold and innovative leadership to give passengers what they want, a publicly owned railway with affordable and flexible ticketing that’s good value and suits their needs as part of the Covid-19 recovery.’
A full statement from the DfT is pending and RailTraveller will provide updates as and when we receive them.