Rail fares in Britain across the board will rise by an average of 2.7% in January, train operators have announced.
Confirmation of the above-inflation fare increase was met with dismay by campaigners and passenger groups.
The rail industry, which published its 2020 fares on Saturday, argued it was keeping fares marginally below the RPI inflation rate used to cap regulated fares, which include season tickets and off-peak returns and account for just under half of all tickets sold.
The government uses the July RPI figure, which was put at 2.8% this year, to set the regulated fares cap. However, the average rise for all fares announced on Saturday remain well in excess of CPI inflation, the most commonly used measure, which was 1.5% last month and 2.1% in July.
The chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, Darren Shirley, said: “January’s above-inflation fare rise will no doubt leave passengers dismayed after years of appalling service.”
The watchdog Transport Focus said a simpler, flexible fares system was needed, and that research showed less than half of British passengers feel they get value for money. Its chief executive, Anthony Smith, said: “Passengers should claim compensation every time they are delayed to help offset the cost of the fares rise.”
Labour said fares had risen at double the rate of wages over the decade and that public ownership would bring affordable fares for all. The shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said: “Passengers should see their fares fall in January, not another rise.”
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operators, said it was the fifth year in the last seven that fares had come in below the mandated cap, and that passenger revenue did not cover rail running costs.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the RDG, said: “We understand that no one wants to pay more to travel.
“Passengers will benefit from 1,000 extra, improved train carriages and over 1,000 extra weekly services in 2020 and the industry will continue to push for changes to fares regulations to enable a better range of affordable, mix and match fares and reduced overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.”
The higher fares come into effect on 2 January, and can be checked online from Saturday.