The government is committed to 1% above inflation increases on regulated fares for 2013 and 2014. With the 5% that train operating companies can add to some routes, regulated fares such as peak time and season tickets in many parts of the country could rise by over 20% in the next three years.
The government is also enabling train operating companies to increase many fares further through its new longer franchises. For example, the new West Coast Inter-City franchise allows the train operator to increase fares by up to 8% above inflation increases for 2013 and 2014 and then 6% above inflation increases every year for the rest of the fifteen year franchise.
The Rail Command Paper also asks train operating companies to use fare increases to price people off peak time trains in order to reduce overcrowding. However, this approach to demand management jars with the experience of many paying passengers who have no choice but to travel at peak times due to working hours.
This will simply penalise a captive market of commuters who will remained crammed on to overcrowded peak time services.