The UK’s Department for Transport (DFT) has promised that it will not increase rail fares for 2023 by the current rate of inflation, due to the cost of living crisis.
Regulated rail fares in the UK for the following year are usually increased by the rate of the retail prices index (RPI) during the preceding July.
Inflation in the UK, as measured by RPI, reached 11.8 per cent in June and last month’s official figure is due to be announced later this week.
But the DFT has confirmed that it will not increase regulated fares, which cover around 45 per cent of rail tickets in the UK, by as much as July’s inflation rate. It has also decided to delay any increase until March 2023, instead of implementing the price rise in January as normal.
“The government is taking decisive action to reduce the impact inflation will have on rail fares during the cost of living crisis and will not be increasing fares as much as the July RPI figure,” confirmed a DFT spokesperson.
“We are also again delaying the increase to March 2023, temporarily freezing fares for passengers to travel at a lower price for the entirety of January and February as we continue to take steps to help struggling households.”
But the DFT has given no indication of how much regulated fares will rise by in 2023. The move does not affect unregulated fares, which are set by train operating companies.
Rail passengers saw fares increase by 3.8 per cent in England and Wales earlier this year, which was the highest rise for nine years. Although, like 2023, this price increase was delayed until March.
Meanwhile, UK rail passengers will face more disruption later this week when the RMT union calls two days of strikes on Thursday (18 August) and Saturday (20 August). This will see a very limited service across the UK’s rail network with passengers warned that they should only travel by train “if absolutely necessary”.