RAIL fares for London commuters are set to rise by up to 13% from January 2011, thanks to government changes to the rules on annual price hikes.
“These massive fare rises will be a disaster for people already struggling with rising costs, and risk pricing those on lower incomes out of jobs,” said Alexandra Woodsworth of the Campaign for Better Transport, protesting against the fare rises at Waterloo station today.
At the start of every year, train companies are allowed to push up fares based on the inflation rate published the previous August and today that figure came in at 5%.
Previously, the rule was that companies could only increase fares by 1% more than inflation, which would have seen bad-enough rises of 6% next year.
But the current government raised the fare-hike limit to inflation-plus-3%, allowing for rises of 8% in early 2011.
On top of that, it also gave the green light for rises of up to 8% above inflation on some routes, giving the 13% figure.
To put those stats into some real-world examples, a 13% hike would see the current cost – £3832 – of an annual season ticket from Brighton to London rise to £4291.
A similar rise on the Guildford to London route would have fares rising from £2916 to £3295 and on the Colchester to London line, from £4140 to £4678.
The government blamed its lack of finances for the rail fare hike.
“The scale of the deficit means that the Government has had to take some very difficult decisions on future rail fares,” said Rail Minister Theresa Villiers.