The Campaign for Better Transport is arguing for a rail fares freeze next year “to help get people back on board trains and put the brakes on the car-led recovery”.
Although the Government has yet to confirm the extent of the rise to regulated fares taking place in January, the equivalent of the Retail Price Index +1% increase this year would amount to 4.8%. That would be “the highest rise since 2013”, says CBT.
“The Chancellor understandably wants to claw back some of the money he sensibly spent to keep trains running during the pandemic. But he may find that when it comes to rail, he needs to speculate to accumulate,” said CBT Chief Executive Paul Tuohy.
“The Government wants people to go back to work, to visit family and friends, and to spend time at tourist attractions to get the economy back on track. But raising rail fares above inflation will not do this - it will simply prompt ever more people to jump into their cars, worsening congestion, air pollution and climate change.
“Even a relatively small increase in the cost of rail travel could lead to a fall in passenger numbers. with people choosing to work at home or commute part-time by car instead.”
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