02 January 2015
Yes, it’s that time of year again – back to work and fare rises. No-one likes prices going up but two things slightly take the sting out of the rises this year. Regulated fares are going up by 2.5 per cent - so in line with inflation. Also the flexibility that train companies have to alter fares on individual routes above the average rise has been scrapped for this year – so the pain is spread more evenly.
However, wages are struggling to catch up with inflation so passengers will have to find real money to pay the extra. Also this is a temporary change. The long-term policy remains that regulated fares will rise above inflation and the flex remains. So it would be good to see some commitments on this as we near an election.
Also this throws the light on the need to really tackle the issue of value for money. Passengers need to see the basic service delivered more reliably every day – performance is still patchy. The industry needs to focus on getting smartcards which can offer carnets and smarter season tickets introduced across the country. Also sorting out confusing ticket machines and much clearer tickets would help passengers know if they have the right ticket.
We will see what passengers think when we publish the next wave of our National Rail Passenger Survey later this month. Over 30,000 passengers will give their opinions about their journeys.