Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Today, 2nd January, saw the annual fares increase and the largest increase for five years. The average nationally was reported as 3.4%; East Midlands Trains fares rose by an average of 3.3%. Though within a headline measure of inflation, rail fares continue to rise more steeply than average earnings. The rise is based on last July's Retail Price Index figure, 3.6%. However, the Consumer Price Index, which excludes some housing costs and amounted to 2.6% last July, is used by government for some other adjustments such as increases in pensions and benefits. Rail campaigners have long held the view that this would be a more equitable measure for fares. It seems doubly unjust that rail fares continue to rise in this way when fuel duty on petrol has again been frozen. The average increase masks some significant variations in individual fares, with some rising by higher amounts and others by less - or not at all.
It is true that much investment is going into the railways at present and it has to be paid for. However, with strong growth in rail usage over recent years, it would be good to see fares stabilised and increased revenue coming instead from the increased numbers of passengers.