Train fare rises to see Government make rail ‘profit’

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Rail fares are rising so fast that by 2018 the Government will be making “a profit from passengers”, according to a new report.

The report commissioned by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) found that within four years fares revenue will cover 103 per cent of the operating costs of the railway – up from 80 per cent in 2009.

The findings come as train travellers in Leeds were handed a three per cent season ticket fare rise, with Leeds-Wakefield season tickets going up from £964 to £992, from today.

Authors of the report, consultants Credo, said that by 2018 the Government’s share of funding the railways will have fallen to just 20 per cent, which is down from 38 per cent in 2009.

CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “Rail fares have been rising faster than wages for a decade now, putting ever more strain on household costs.

“What this report shows is that by the next Parliament income from fares will not only cover the entire running costs of the railways, the Government will actually begin to start profiting from passengers.”

The report found that revenue from fares had increased from 54 per cent of overall funding for the railways in 2009 to 66 per cent today and was forecast to grow to 69 per cent by 2018.

Mr Joseph said: “The Government must re-examine its fares policy as a matter of urgency and commit to a fairer system in line with the consumer price index so that fares only rise in line with wages.”

Train companies in England have licence to put up regulated fares, including season tickets, by up to two per cent above the agreed price-increase figure which, for 2014, is 3.1 per cent. Unregulated fares like off-peak leisure tickets are not capped.

The CBT is among groups to complain about the increase, claiming fares are rising three times faster than wages.

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