Wakefield commuters facing 10th year of rail fare price rises

1st December 2011'Wakefield Westgate train station.'Picture: Matthew Page
1st December 2011'Wakefield Westgate train station.'Picture: Matthew Page

RAIL travellers face being out of pocket in their 10th consecutive year of fares rising faster than average wages.

Fare increases to come into force in January have caused anger from transport campaigners who say people are being priced off the railways.

National Rail Enquires figures show a 12-month season ticket to travel between Wakefield Westgate and Leeds will rise from £908 currently to £964 next year – an increase of more than six per cent.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets, are capped at inflation plus one per cent, but companies can charge higher or lower rates as long as the average increase is 4.2 per cent on their networks.

Richard Hebditch, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Come January, the millions who rely on the trains will yet again find themselves out of pocket.

“Pricing people off the railways is bad for passengers, bad for the environment and bad for the economy. Government must act on its promise to stop above inflation rises.

“After 10 years of above inflation increases, train fares are simply too expensive for many people.”

Regulated fare rises were capped at inflation plus three per cent before the government cut this to one per cent to ease rising costs. But some West Yorkshire fares could rise higher under a deal which allows Northern Rail to still increase fares at inflation plus three per cent. A Northern Rail spokeswoman said latest increases had not yet been decided.

Rail minister Norman Baker pointed out that some fares were actually set to fall.

He said: “It’s also worth pointing out that we are engaged in the biggest rail investment programme since the 19th century and it is only right that the passenger, as well as the taxpayer, contributes towards that.

“In the longer term we are determined to reduce the cost of running the railways so that we can end the era of above inflation fare rises.”