Minister: Rail fare rises ‘regrettable’

New Year rail fare increases have come into effect which will see ticket prices rise by an average of 2.2 per cent.

Regulated fares, including season tickets, have risen by up to 2.5 per cent but this is the lowest increase for five years.

However transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has described the latest round of rail fare rises as “regrettable”,

Mr McLoughlin said: “I accept 2.5 per cent is more than a passenger wants to pay. Any increase is to be regrettable.

“But it is the fact we’re investing record amounts in to the industry so we can get better train services and a better rail service for the UK.”

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Martin Abrams, from the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Yet again, the Government is hiking up commuter rail fares.

“Ticket prices are rising much faster than wages, which means getting to work takes up an increasing share of incomes, hitting both household budgets and the economy.

“The Government urgently needs to adopt a fairer approach to ticketing, bringing fares down and introducing more flexible tickets to help groups like the millions who work part-time.”

East Midlands Trains has confirmed fares will rise by an average of 1.3 per cent, which is significantly below the current rate of inflation.

David Horne, managing director of East Midlands Trains, said: “We are pleased to have cut the cost of travel in real terms for our customers.”

“Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining the railway which benefits every household in the country, by improving journeys, creating employment and helping to boost the economy. “

“Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27m a day building and maintaining a better railway that benefits passengers, communities and businesses across Britain alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services.”

As well as paying for the running of the day-to-day rail network, fares are helping fund a massive programme of investment across the East Midlands Trains network.

Martin Abrams, from the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Yet again, the Government is hiking up commuter rail fares.”

“Ticket prices are rising much faster than wages, which means getting to work takes up an increasing share of incomes, hitting both household budgets and the economy.”

“The Government urgently needs to adopt a fairer approach to ticketing, bringing fares down and introducing more flexible tickets.”