Next year’s English rail fares rise will be below inflation, says Government

RPI for July will be published on Wednesday and is expected to be around 9%.

Next year’s rise in English rail fares will be below inflation, the Government has announced.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the increase will not be as high as the rise in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) for the 12 months to July.

The July RPI figure has traditionally been used to set the following year’s increase in average train fares.

That was 12.3% last year, but the Government used July’s average earnings growth of 5.9% to determine this year’s increase in the cost of train travel.

RPI for July will be published on Wednesday and is expected to be around 9%.

A DfT spokesman said: “Following last year’s biggest-ever Government intervention to cap rail fare increases well below inflation, we’ll continue to protect passengers from cost-of-living pressures and we will not increase next year’s rail fares by as much as the July RPI figure.

“Any increase will also be delayed until March 2024, temporarily freezing fares for passengers to travel at a lower price for the entirety of January and February as the Government continues with its plan to halve inflation.”

The more commonly used measure of inflation is the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which is forecast to be a fraction below 7% for July.

Average earnings growth in the three months to June was up 7.8% year-on-year.

The figure for July will be published on September 12.

The DfT said further details on next year’s fare changes will be announced at a later date.

Pressure group Campaign for Better Transport called for fares to be unchanged “in recognition of the burden high fares place on rail passengers”.

Chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “The Government should freeze rail fares – as they have done with fuel duty – until the long-promised ticketing reform takes place.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Nobody likes their fare going up, but after a year where many journeys have been blighted by disruption due to industrial action and patchy performance, passengers will be relieved to hear that fares will be capped below the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and any increases will be delayed until March next year.”

The Scottish and Welsh governments have not announced their policies towards rail fares changes next year.

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