Wages in the UK are not going up very quickly. At least, they are not going up as quickly as rail fares. According to industry experts, commuters will face an average increase of 4.1 percent next year on all rail tickets. This increase will also apply to all season tickets. According to UK ministers, this increase is going to help pay for some much-needed investment in the rail network.
To make matters worse, trade unions are organizing protests all over the country. These protestors are calling for the rail networks to finally be returned to public ownership. It is not yet known how bad these protests are going to affect travel conditions.
Although the average price increase is going to be around 4.1 percent, the increase will be higher for some. People who travel on popular railways could see fares increase as much as 9 percent. This is due to the fact that rail companies are likely to add extra costs onto some of their tickets in these areas to help maintain lines.
The UK government controls all of the regulated fare increases. However, rail companies still hold the right to add their own fare increases if they see fit. In turn, this could lead to huge spikes in rail ticket prices next year. Once again, these huge fare increases are most likely going to be seen in high-populated areas.
According to government officials, however, the rate of increase will be based on the average rate of inflation. This is measured by the retail price index for July. On top of the average rate of inflation, the government will be adding 1 percent to that in order to help generate some much-needed investment.
The retail price index in July was 3.1 percent, which was down from 3.3 percent a year earlier. Thus, the figures that the government said that it is basing the increase on appear to be accurate. However, that does not change the fact that this increase is going to hurt people who rely on the rail network to get to and from work.
Either way, people should not expect these on-going increases to rail fares to stop any time soon. In fact, the government has already planned for increases in both 2014 and 2015. Both years, this increase will be based on the retail price index, plus 1 percent.
So why are travellers forced to foot the bill for railway investment? Most of this is due to the fact that the government only plans on paying for around 25 percent of the cost of upgrading the railway network. Right now, it pays about 32 percent. This means, that travellers will have to make up the difference in order for the government to reach its 25 percent target.
Of course, this method should not come as a shock to anyone. In fact, reports show that fares have been increasing at a rate well above inflation for more than a decade now. Wages increase very little, but for the past decade, rail rates have gone up more than wages every year. All the years of this have left people with very little extra money to pay for rail tickets.