About my rail fare

Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining Britain's railway, a vital public service.

For 2016, the average rise in rail fares was 1.1%, the smallest for six years. This increase took effect from 2 January 2016.

Around half of rail fares are 'regulated', including Season tickets on most commuter journeys, some Off-Peak return tickets on long distance journeys and Anytime tickets around major cities. This means that the government uses July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation to determine the increase in the price of these fares. In August 2015, it was confirmed that regulated fares would rise by 1 per cent in 2016 in line with RPI.

Train companies have greater freedom to set the prices of other, 'unregulated', fares, where there is more competition with other train operators and coach, car or air travel.

You can find out the cost of your season ticket, as well as the average cost per journey on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Some commonly asked questions about rail fares

Which fares increase in January?

Not all fares increase. The average rise in rail fares for 2016 is 1.1 per cent. Overall, some fares may go up, many will stay the same and some will reduce in price.

Where does the money from my fare go?

On average, 97p in every pound of your fare goes back into the railway. For more detail, see ORR's report GB Rail Industry Financial Information 2014-15.

The vast majority of revenue from fares covers the costs of services, for example paying for trains, fuel, staff and other day-to-day running costs, and helps to sustain investment in more trains, better stations and faster journeys. Data and graph released by the Office of Rail & Road in March 2016 for financial year 2014-15.

fares pie chart

The rail industry works hard to get more out of every pound we spend and to make passengers’ and taxpayers’ money go further to help to build a better railway.

How much have rail fares risen over the years?

The average price paid for a single journey in 2014-15 was £5.32, compared to £5.35 in real terms in the mid-1990s.

How do rail fares here compare with the rest of Europe?

Research published by the independent watchdog Transport Focus shows that while Britain had relatively high fares for some types of journeys compared to other countries in Europe, it also found that we have some of the lowest ticket prices for long distance journeys with operators now selling more and more cheap tickets.

Discounting by train companies has contributed to passenger numbers more than doubling in the last 20 years. There were 1.65billion journeys a year on our railway last year (2014-15). That's 4.5million a day.

Britain has Europe's fastest growing railway. Rail journeys per head of population here grew 60 per cent between 1998 and 2013 to 24.7 a year, overtaking the Netherlands (20.6), widening the gap with France (17.7) and catching up with Germany (24.9).

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