Beds Commuters To Pay More For Fares

Train passengers are being warned of above inflation increases for annual season tickets for journeys including Bedford and Luton.

Some rail season ticket holders will face fare rises of almost 6% in January, it was revealed today.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets, will rise by an average of 4.2% from January.

That means from:

Bedford to Kings Cross: Currently an annual season ticket costs £4004 - FROM JANUARY: £4172

Luton to St Pancras: Currently an annual season ticket costs £3604 - FROM JANUARY: £3755

Milton Keynes to Euston: Currently an annual season ticket costs £4408 - FROM JANUARY: £4593

Other fares picked out by Passenger Focus today that will rise above this 4.2% average include Northampton to Euston (up 4.7% to £4,980).

Some season tickets are not rising as much as 4.2%, while others are on, or very close, to the average.

The rises could have been steeper but for an intervention by the Government to limit the regulated fare rise to RPI inflation (as of July 2012) plus 1%, rather than the planned RPI plus 3% increase.

Train companies have the flexibility to raise some season tickets above the 4.2% ceiling as long as the average increase on their trains is no more than 4.2%.

Passenger Focus said that it appeared that train companies were exercising restraint but added that the price rises will still feel steep in some places.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Passengers will feel this pain. After years of above-inflation fare rises, fresh increases are piling pressure on already high fares. The Government and the rail industry must now work together to deliver on the welcome promise to get fare rises in line with inflation.''

Regulated fares account for around 40% of total fares. Train companies can raise non-regulated fares by as much as they like. Details of all fare rises are expected in the next few days.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "It is the Government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year.

Successive governments have instructed train companies every year to increase these regulated fares on average by more than inflation.

In doing so, ministers have been seeking to cut the contribution from taxpayers towards the running costs of the railway and increase the share that comes from passengers."

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