Annual fares set to cost third of salary

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IT IS not just petrol prices that are soaring as rail users are also facing a hike in prices – with train fares set to rise almost four times faster than wages next year.

The Campaign for Better Transport has revealed that rail fares will increase by an average of eight per cent in England, while the average earnings for 2012 are set to rise by only 2.2 per cent.

For commuters in Suffolk, the price of a season ticket to London will cost rail users nearly a third of their average salary.

An annual ticket to travel from Bury St Edmunds into London costs rail users £5,620 this year – more than 27.8 per cent of the average salary. But season tickets next year will cost users £6,075.22, nearly a third of the average forecast salary.

But three years on from 2012, the price of the season ticket will shoot up by more than £1,100, to £7,214.40 in 2015.

This year, a season ticket from Stowmarket to London will set users back £5,400 – 26.8 per cent of the average salary. But next year the fare will peak at more than 28.3 per cent of the forecast average salary, costing commuters £5,837.40.

And in 2015 the annual ticket will cost rail users £6,931.99.

Alexandra Woodsworth, public transport campaigner for Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Times are tough for many people and they are going to get more so in the coming months. With fares rising so much faster than wages, the cost of the commute is becoming an increasingly heavy burden and there is a real danger that some people simply won’t be able to get to work.”

Ross Taylor, secretary for Mid Anglia Rail Passengers Association, said: “We are disappointed that it appears the percentage rate seems to be going up more than the annual rate of inflation. We want rail travel to be as cheap as it possibly can, but at the same time we want to see some major investment in it.”