Rail fares will increase by 1.1% from January 2016, industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has announced, which is the smallest annual increase in six years. RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said that 97% of income raised from train tickets would be reinvested in trains, staff and other costs for the railway companies. The high costs of running the railways were not even completely covered by train fares, Plummer said, although train passenger numbers had doubled in the past 20 years.
"We know that nobody likes to pay more to travel by train, especially to get to work, and at 1.1 per cent this is the smallest average increase in fares for six years," he said. Plummer said that the income from train tickets allowed the government to focus its funding on building a bigger, better network. "The railway is becoming increasingly important at driving economic growth, underpinning jobs and connecting friends and families," he said.
|Overall average fares increase|
The increase, which is a considerably mild one compared to the past few years, comes after a protest held by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) in August, in which the union to highlighted the cost of privatisation and lobbied for renationalisation of the railways rather than a further rise in fares. The RMT claimed fares had increased three times faster on average than UK wages had. They were supported by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has pleaded for the re-nationalisation of the railways or an alternative to the current private structure.
"The result of 10 years of privatised railways is that we have the highest subsidy of any rail system in Europe, and the largest profits being made all at the public expense," Corbyn said on his website. He also called for a return to the principles of a publicly owned and accountable system.