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Atoc accused over rail fare rises


Passengers face average rail fare rises of 5.9 per cent in January

Passengers face average rail fare rises of 5.9 per cent in January

Passengers face average rail fare rises of 5.9 per cent in January

Hard-pressed train passengers will face average fare rises of 5.9% from January 2, but some tickets will go up by more than that.

An advance single from London to Glasgow with Virgin Trains, for example, will rise 8.1% to £20.00. And shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said many tickets would increase "by a shocking 9%".

Rail union TSSA accused the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc), which announced the rises, of trying to "bury bad news" by giving "only the barest details" of the overall increase.

News of the rise comes just a day after the Office of Rail Regulation issued enforcement notices on Network Rail for poor punctuality performance.

The 5.9% is a figure which covers all fares. Regulated fares, which include season tickets, will rise by an average of 6%, which is the July 2011 RPI inflation figure plus 1%.

The Government had originally decided to increase the annual fare cap from RPI plus 1% to RPI plus 3%, but this decision was reversed by Chancellor George Osborne in last month's autumn statement.

As the 6% regulated fare figure is an average, train companies can put some fares up more than this as long as the overall average stays at 6%. There is no limit on rises that can be made to unregulated fares, which make up around 60% of total fares.

Atoc chief executive Michael Roberts said: "Money raised through fares helps pay for new trains, faster services and better stations. The long-standing Government approach to sustaining rail investment is to cut the contribution from taxpayers and increase the share paid for by passengers.

"The industry is working together to continue cutting costs as a way to help limit future fare rises and offer better value for money for taxpayers over the longer term."

Ms Eagle said: "Ministers have shown how completely out of touch they are with the rising costs of commuting by failing to stick to the tough rules Labour established in government to prevent train companies from increasing some ticket prices by more than the fare cap."

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