Rail fares in England to rise in March next year but by less than inflation – here's what we know
Rail fares in England will go up next year but by less than the rate of inflation, the Government has said. The exact rise is yet to be announced but the increase will come in March 2023 instead of the usual rise in January.
Annual increases to 'regulated' rail fares, such as season tickets and off-peak tickets, are usually linked to the previous July's retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, which for 2022 will be announced on Wednesday 17 August.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said next year's rise in fares will be lower than that RPI figure. The DfT hasn't yet confirmed what the rise will be, but we've asked and we'll update this story when we know more.
June's RPI was 11.8%. An increase around that figure would add hundreds of pounds to the cost of many annual season tickets. Before the coronavirus pandemic, fare increases normally came in in January but in 2021 and 2022 they came in March and that'll also be the case for 2023.
What are regulated rail fares?
The following table shows which tickets are generally regulated (and so are affected by today's announcement) and which aren't:
|Season Tickets||First Class|
|Super Off-Peak||Off-Peak Day|
Unregulated fares across the UK are set by the train companies themselves. We don't yet know if or how these prices might change in 2023.
Regulated rail fare rises are calculated differently across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Regulated rail fares are a devolved matter and it's up to the Department for Transport for England, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government and Translink of Northern Ireland to determine fares.
These haven't been confirmed yet for 2023, but here's how fares changed this year:
- England and Wales: From 1 March 2022, regulated fares rose by up to 3.8% (July 2021's RPI inflation figure). Increases are normally implemented on the first working day of each year but were delayed until March due to the pandemic.
- Scotland: From 24 January 2022, regulated peak and off-peak fares rose by July 2021's RPI of 3.8%. Peak regulated fares in Scotland also increased by July's RPI in 2021. Transport Scotland said the increase to off-peak fares this year was a "necessary step".
- Northern Ireland: Rail fares aren't linked to RPI. They are instead determined by Translink, the company that runs public transport in Northern Ireland, and have been frozen since 2019. Translink told us it wasn't planning any increases "in the near future".
Additional reporting by the Press Association.