Rail fares to soar again

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Commuters across the Five Towns face a rail fare increase of 4.1 per cent next year.

Fares controlled by the government, which includes season tickets, will rise by inflation, as measured by the retail price index (RPI), plus one per cent in January.

RPI was at 3.1 per cent in July, which is the month used to calculate rail fares.

The increase means that a season ticket from Pontefract Monkill to Leeds will cost more than £1,000, up from £964 this year.

A season ticket from Castleford, Knottingley and Featherstone to Leeds will also cost more than £1,000.

Unions and campaigners staged a series of protests at stations across the county to highlight the increase.

Since 2007, West Yorkshire’s fare rise has been larger than other areas because of an extra three per cent to fund extra carraigeways on trains across the county.

Coun James Lewis, Metro chairman, said that the deal had come to an end so there would be no extra charges next year.

He said: “Although passengers will not be facing the additional three per cent fare rise, they are still facing a significant, above-inflation price hike but not seeing any real improvement in services.

“With record numbers of people now using West Yorkshire’s rail network and paying more to do so, we now need to see how the government is going to seize the baton.

“They must continue with Metro and its partners’ work to grow capacity and improve quality through investment in new trains and better infrastructure.”

The Campaign for Better Transport has published research showing that rail fares are increasing nearly twice as fast as incomes.

The study shows that fares have raised 17 per cent more than wages since 2007.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport said: “Getting to work is now the biggest single monthly outgoing for many commuters - more than food, more than housing. One of the surest ways of stamping on any green shoots of recovery is to price people off the trains and out of the jobs market. For the sake of the economy we should end above inflation fares increases now and start planning for fare reductions.”

The 4.1 per cent rise on regulated fares is an average figure, with train companies able to put fares up above this figure as long as all its regulated fares average 4.1 per cent.