Rail passengers need a fares freeze, not another increase

15 August 2018

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent transport user passenger watchdog Transport Focus has said,

“After a torrid summer, passengers hit by the timetable crisis will be amazed that the talk is about a fares increase! A fares freeze would benefit all passengers begin the process of re-building trust and start to bring passengers back to a railway they can rely on.

“On top of stagnant or falling real incomes rail passengers will feel the heat of any annual fares increase in regulated fares (from January 2019).

“With Transport for Wales taking over to provide a new rail service from October, passengers in Wales will expect to see the fruits of investment by the time any fare rises take effect next January. Clear communication about how and when improvements will be delivered will be key if passengers in Wales are to be persuaded they can come back to a better and more reliable service.

“Passengers in Scotland will be disappointed to see fares rise (RPI – 1%). Passengers will be expecting to see the fruits of investment in Scotland that delivers improved connectivity, capacity, new trains and station redevelopments, meeting the growth in passenger journeys that has increased by 23.5 million in ten years to 97.8 million journeys. There also needs to be clear communication about how and when improvements will be delivered, in order to rebuild trust due to the recent experience of increased costs and delays to the infrastructure programme.

“We know less than one third (30%) of rail commuters are satisfied with the value for money of their ticket. Despite substantial investment in new trains and track, many passengers have yet to experience a more reliable railway with accurate information, less disruption and better value for money.

“Transport Focus has also long argued that it’s time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on calculations that use the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rather than the discredited Retail Price Index. We welcome news that Mr Grayling is now calling on train operators to use CPI to calculate annual fare increases.

“Fare rises also make it vital that passengers can easily access the best value for money fares for their journeys. We know many rail passengers want a smarter ticketing system that they can understand and trust, is simpler to use, better value for money and offers choices that suit the way we travel now.  We encourage passengers to have their say about future ticketing in the joint Transport Focus and Rail Delivery Group ‘Easier Fares’ consultation before it closes on 10 September.”


Notes for Editors

The Easier Fares consultation can be found at https://www.britainrunsonrail.co.uk/fares

Sample fares  

This grid shows sample fares at January 2018 rates (some may have changed since then) and the probable cost in Jan 2019 if a 3.2% increase is applied across the board. They are for guidance purposes only because the railway may choose to hold some fares down or may legitimately raise some by more than 3.2%, even where regulated.

Annual Season Tickets journeys Current Price Rounded 


by 3.2%)

Bournemouth – Waterloo £6,732.00 £6,948 South Western Railway
Swindon – Paddington £8,740.00 £9,020 Great Western Railway
High Wycombe – Marylebone £3,556.00 £3,670 Chiltern Railways
Brighton – Victoria £4,332.00 £4,471 Southern Rail
Brighton – Blackfriars £3,968.00 £4,095 Thameslink
Harpenden – St Pancras Intl. £3,820.00 £3,943 Thameslink
Luton – Sutton £4,368.00 £4,508 Thameslink
Northampton – Euston £5,604.00 £5,784 West Midlands Trains
Burton-on-Trent – Derby £1,428.00 £1,475 Cross Country
Manchester – Preston £2,836.00 £2,927 Northern
Blackburn – Manchester £1,864.00 £1,924 Northern
Bolton – Manchester £1,020.00 £1,053 Northern
Blackpool South – Preston £1,308.00 £1,350 Northern
Huddersfield – Leeds £1,368.00 £1,412 Northern
Peterborough – Kings Cross £7,752.00 £8,001 London North Eastern Railway
Basildon – Fenchurch Street £2,852.00 £2,944 c2c
Caerphilly – Cardiff Queen St. £980.00 £1,012 Arriva Trains Wales
Ludlow – Hereford £2,212.00 £2,283 Arriva Trains Wales
North Berwick – Edinburgh £1,804.00 £1,862 ScotRail
Stirling – Glasgow Queen St. £2,160.00 £2,230 ScotRail
Off-peak/Super Off-peak returns
Paddington – Exeter via Taunton £117.00 £120.80 Great Western Railway
King’s Cross – Newcastle £137.40 £141.80 London North Eastern Railway
Euston – Glasgow £142.50 £147.10 Virgin Trains
Euston – Manchester £86.90 £89.70 Virgin Trains
St Pancras Intl – Derby £66.50 £68.60 East Midlands
Liverpool Street – Norwich £55.00 £56.80 Greater Anglia
Dundee – Edinburgh £28.30 £29.20 ScotRail
Carmarthen – Swansea £16.70 £17.20 Arriva Trains Wales


For further information please contact Kieran Watkins, Senior communications officer

Tel: 0300 123 0836 or e-mail: kieran.watkins@transportfocus.org.uk

Transport Focus is the independent consumer organisation representing the interests of:

  • rail passengers in Great Britain
  • bus, coach and tram users across England outside London
  • all users of England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads (the Strategic Road Network).

We work to make a difference for all transport users.


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