Rail passengers to be hit by largest fare rise in NINE years: Fury as prices are set to go up by 3.8 per cent next March increasing cost of an average annual ticket by £119 to £3,263

 Britain's train passengers will be hit with the largest fare rise in nearly a decade next year. 

The Department for Transport announced that ticket prices will rise by 3.8% from March 1. 

The move will heap fresh misery on commuters - with households already hit by soaring energy bills and petrol prices. It brings the cost of an average UK season ticket to £3,263 - an increase of £119. 

The government said the rise was 'fair' because it is below the current retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation, which is 7.1%, the department said in a statement. 

Increases are normally implemented on the first working day of every year, but have been pushed back until March. Rail fares went up by 2.6% in March this year.

The Campaign for Better Transport said: 'This rise is far from fair. It risks driving people off rail and onto roads instead - bad news for the environment. Rail fares should have been frozen to match the fuel duty freeze for car drivers.'

It will be the steepest increase since January 2013, according to figures from industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). 

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said that capping rises in line with inflation 'struck a fair balance'

 Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said that capping rises in line with inflation 'struck a fair balance' 

The headline CPI rate hit 5.1 per cent in November, significantly above the expectations of analysts and the highest for more than a decadeThis year's rise in fares in England and Wales was based on the previous July's RPI plus one percentage point.

The Scottish Government imposed smaller rises for some journeys. It has not announced its plan for 2022.

How much will my annual season ticket increase to? 

Britain's fare rises are regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments. This is how the rises will affect commuters -  

Route: today - after rise - increase

Woking to London: £3,697 to £3,837 - £140

Tweedbank to Edinburgh: £3,090 to £3207 - £117

Brighton to London (any route): £5,353 to £5,556 - £203 

Whitehaven to Carlisle: £2,184 to £2,267 - £83

Neath to Cardiff: £1,941 to £2,015 - £74 

Welwyn Garden City to London: £3,333 to £3,460 - £127

Liverpool to Manchester (any route): £2,892 to £3,001 - £110 

Gloucester to Birmingham (any route): £4,682 to £4,860 - £178

Bangor to Llandudno:  £1,291 to £1,340 - £49

Edinburgh to Glasgow (any route):  £4,473 to £4643 - £170

Increases are normally implemented on the first working day of every year, but have been delayed until March since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: 'Capping rail fares in line with inflation while tying it to the July RPI strikes a fair balance, ensuring we can continue to invest record amounts into a more modern, reliable railway, ease the burden on taxpayers and protect passengers from the highest RPI in years.

'Delaying the changes until March 2022 offers people the chance to save money by renewing their fares at last year's price.

'That includes the 100,000 people who are already making savings with cheaper and more convenient flexible season tickets.'

The DfT also announced the Book with Confidence scheme will be extended until March 31 2022.

This allows passengers to change their travel plans up until the night before departure, without being charged a fee, or cancel their tickets and receive a refund in the form of rail vouchers.

Andy Bagnall, director general of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: 'The Government's decision to hold fares down in line with July's inflation is welcome compared to last year's above-inflation increase and the rate of inflation right now.

'It is important that fares are set at a level that will encourage more people to travel by train in the future, helping to support a clean and fair recovery from the pandemic.

'We know the railway must not take more than its fair share from the taxpayer, which is why the rail industry is working to create a financially sustainable and more passenger-focused service that will both keep costs down long-term and attract people back to the train.'

Fares for rail services in Northern Ireland are set by state-owned operator Translink, which does not use RPI.

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