RDG responds to RPI figure which will set regulated rail fares for 2019

Commenting on the release of July’s RPI figure which is used by governments to set next January's increase to regulated rail fares, Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the railway, said:

“Fares are underpinning a once-in-a-generation investment plan to improve the railway and politicians effectively determine that season ticket prices should change in line with other day-to-day costs to help fund this.

“While the industry is learning lessons from the recent timetable change, major improvements have been delivered this year from upgraded stations at London Bridge and Liverpool Lime Street to new trains in the South West and Scotland and more will be delivered in the next year.

“We understand that aspects of the current fares system are frustrating for people which is why as part of the industry’s plan, train companies are also leading a consultation to update regulation and improve the range of fares on offer, making the system simpler and easier to use for customers.”

Ends

Notes to editors

1. Regulations underpinning rail fares have remained largely unchanged from the mid-1990s and there are now around 55 million different fares. Regulations have also failed to keep pace with the rise of smartphone technology or how people work and travel today, with part time working and self-employment having increased by over a third in 22 years.

Updated, fit-for-purpose fares regulation would enable the right changes for the long-term. The industry is working with Transport Focus, the passenger watchdog, to run a public consultation to hear the views of businesses, passenger groups, stakeholders, employees and the public on what a future range of fares should look like.

Fares consultation responses can be given by visiting www.britainrunsonrail.co.uk/fares. The hashtag for the consultation is #easierfares.

Timeline of consultation process:

  • Public consultation opened – 4 June
  • Public consultation closes – Monday 10 September
  • Final report – Late autumn

A final report will be informed by the consultation and will make proposals to governments with options for fares reform. The industry’s proposals will be designed to be neutral in overall revenue terms with no change in average fares, and therefore not requiring any extra taxpayer support for the railway.

2. Last October, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors published a long-term plan for change – In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve including investing £54m to improve 180 stations over the next two years; and create more and better jobs in rail.

3. Improvements over the last year:

  • New trains in Scotland and between London and the south west following electrification work – faster, more reliable journeys on more comfortable trains.
  • Longer trains from Waterloo creating more seats and space for passengers.
  • Upgraded stations across the country, including Manchester Victoria and Carlisle
  • As part of the Great North Rail Project:
    • Completion of the Ordsall Chord in Manchester, connecting Manchester’s three major stations for the first time and unlock faster journeys to more destinations better connecting communities across the north.
    • Major upgrade to Liverpool Lime Street station to create capacity for new, longer trains and direct services to Scotland
    • Electrification between Preston and Blackpool, to allow for more reliable services.

4. Improvements over the next year:

  • Britain’s newest railway, the Elizabeth Line, will start carrying customers, increasing capacity across the region by 10%
  • New trains with more capacity rolled out between Liverpool and Glasgow, on the East Coast route, the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Scotland, the North West and Northern, and across East Anglia. Trains across the country are also being refurbished, with Wi-Fi and power sockets.
  • Faster journeys, including between Edinburgh to Glasgow and London and the South West.
  • Redeveloped and upgraded stations, including Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh Waverley.
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