Commuters hit with rail fare increase

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Rail commuters returning to work after the festive break faced a fare increase of 4.1 per cent.

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

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

The increase means that an annual season ticket from Pontefract Monkhill to Leeds will cost £992, up from £964 last year.

A season ticket from Castleford, Knottingley and Featherstone to Leeds will also cost £992.

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

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

A report published by The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said rail fares were rising so fast that by 2018 the Government would be making “a profit from passengers.”

The report found that within four years fares revenue would cover 103 per cent of the operating costs of the railway - up from 80 per cent in 2009.

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

“The government must re-examine its fare policies 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.