/ Travel & Leisure

Are the January rail price rises fair?

Woman going through ticket barrier

As regulars on this site will know, we like a good moan about train prices, so we couldn’t let the January increases pass without a special mention. Have you been hit with extortionate rises, and if so how much?

It’s been quite hard to avoid the headlines about rail fare rises recently. ‘Rail fares to go up by 37%’, ‘Passenger anger as rail fares rise by 13%’ and ‘Protest urged as rail fares rise’ are just a few from the mix.

We’ve covered the issue of rail increases quite extensively here on Which? Convo too, so apologies for bringing it up again, but now the prices have actually changed and you’ve had to dig deep, we’re interested to see how they’re really affecting people.

Personally, I had a bit of a shock when I renewed my monthly Oyster card a few days ago. Every January I notice a difference, but this year seemed like a bigger kick in the teeth than usual.

‘That’ll be a hundred and six pounds,’ declared the man at the ticket office. Sorry? I don’t know if it was the leap up to three figures (it was previously £99.10) or the cost itself, but either way I felt fleeced.

Rail price rises round the country

But my 6.5% increase is close to the 6.2% average and even looks small in comparison with other price changes throughout the UK.

Kent commuters must be seething. They’re reportedly paying £586 more for a season ticket from Tonbridge to London – a rise of nearly 12.7%. Some fares are going up even more, with the cost of an anytime direct return from Aberdeen to Cardiff set to rise 9.7%, from £321 to £352.

So are all these increases fair? They certainly don’t feel it as you purchase your ticket, but the chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, Michael Roberts, is quick to defend them. He says the rises will lead to ‘more trains and better services’ – I guess we’ll just have to grudgingly pay up and see.


I was nearly pole-axed with shock this weekend.
I was travelling from London to Hatfield – a 25-30minute journey.
One way, at the weekend, it is usually a fairly hefty £7.90
This Sunday the screen gleamed with the request for £8.50

I. was. not. impressed.
And even less so when I boarded the filthy train (both inside & out).

Do they not say each time they hike the prices up that services will improve?
I’ve yet to see any evidence of this.

I agree – the increase in cost of a monthly oyster card seems really high. Over £80 more a year! It might finally be enough to make me get organised enough to buy a yearly one…

Fair Fares Now says:
14 January 2011

Join the fight against rail fare rises at http://www.fairfaresnow.org and demand cheaper, simpler and fairer rail ticketing.

Iain Macbriar says:
19 April 2011

There’s some interesting comments about small print on internet ticket sales only appearing after you’ve chosen a ticket at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=8620.0;topicseen.