Increases in rail fares have come into force in Great Britain, amid strong criticism.
The Rail Delivery Group confirmed a rise in fares by an average of 3.1% for customers in England, Scotland and Wales at the end of November, and the new prices came into force on 2 January 2019.
It is said that the extra finance generated is key in underpinning improvements that are being undertaken on the railways and associated infrastructure.
However, after a year of delays, reduced and cancelled services – especially after the chaos that ensued following timetable changes – the new fares have been heavily criticised.
Passengers and business users have protested about the prices, and Transport Focus – a watchdog for transport passengers and road users in the UK – said that it is high time that passengers saw tangible benefits in the rail services they use.
And Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus, said that eroded trust won’t even begin to recover until such time that better value for money is felt by rail users.
He said: “Rail fares are going up in January after a year blighted by timetable chaos, poor performance and strikes.
“Until day-to-day reliability returns, with fewer significant delays and cancellations, passenger trust won’t begin to recover.
“Passengers now pour over £10 billion a year into the railway alongside significant government investment, so the rail industry cannot be short of funding.
“When will this translate into more reliable services that are better value for money?
“The government’s Rail Review must bring changes to the industry that benefit passengers.
“It’s also time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on a calculation that uses the Consumer Prices Index, rather than the discredited Retail Price Index.”
The beleaguered Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, accused trade unions for the rise in fares – comments that have been derided by the RMT, who said the problems are a result of railway privatisation.