Passengers in Devon and Cornwall are feeling the full pain of higher rail fares today, with annual season tickets rising by an average of 3.1%.
A recent policy decision by the Government has limited the 2014 increase, but Labour, campaign groups and rail unions have all pointed out that fares are rising far faster than wages.
The 3.1% rise is for regulated fares which include season tickets. The increase on unregulated fares, typically off-peak leisure tickets, is not capped.
But a number of these fares, including some on the East Coast route, are going up by much less than 3.1%, with the overall rise in tickets – regulated and unregulated – being 2.8%.
The regulated fare increase pushes some commuters into the £5,000-a-year “club”, with annual season tickets to London from Deal and Dover Priory costing £5,012.
The rise also means some annual season tickets will break the £4,000 mark, with a Basingstoke-London annual fare now costing £4,076.
The Department for Transport said the Government understood concerns rail passengers had about the costs of fares and their impact on household budgets, which was why fares had been limited to the rate of inflation.
The department added that the fares passengers paid would “continue to drive forward the biggest programme of rail modernisation ever, with £38 billion being invested over the next five years”.
Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said the fare rise was “a continuation of David Cameron’s cost-of-living crisis”, while Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said 2014 was “all set to be another year of racketeering and greed on Britain’s privatised railways”.
Sustainable transport organisation Sustrans said: “Commuters will still feel the pinch this new year because salaries aren’t increasing by anywhere near the level of inflation.”
Consumer group Which? said the fare increases “will be a blow to people already feeling the financial squeeze”, while campaign group Railfuture said: “This latest fare rise comes after 10 years of inflation-busting fare increases, meaning that our trains are easily the most expensive in Europe.”
:: Here are examples of rail fare rises. The table compares the price of a 12-month season ticket bought in January 2013 with one bought from January 2 2014.
The table does not include the price paid if within-London travelcards are also purchased for Tube and bus journeys in the capital.
Where London is mentioned, this means travel to London terminal stations where travel is allowed by any route option shown by the National Rail Enquiry system journey planner where the journey can be made using only one ticket.
ROUTE JAN 2013 JAN 2014 PERCENTAGE RISE
Leeds-Wakefield £964 £992 2.9%
Basingstoke-London £3,952 £4,076 3.13%
Ramsgate-London £4,864 £5,012 3.04%
Folkestone Central -London £4,836 £4,984 3.06%
Bedford-London £4,172 £4,300 3.07%
Sevenoaks-London £3,112 £3,208 3.08%
Cheltenham Spa-London £9,184 £9,468 3.09%
Deal-London £4,864 £5,012 3.04%
Woking-London £2,896 £2,980 2.9%
West Malling-London £3,876 £3,996 3.1%
Guildford-London £3,224 £3,320 2.98%
Dover Priory-London £4,864 £5,012 3.04%
Ludlow-Hereford £1,992 £2,032 2%
Morpeth-Newcastle £1,008 £1,040 3.17%
Milton Keynes-London £4,620 £4,772 3.29%
Tunbridge Wells- London £4,132 £4,260 3.1%
Aylesbury-London £3,632 £3,732 2.75%
Hastings-London £4,304 £4,432 2.97%