Protests have been planned at 40 train stations across the UK after average rail ticket prices rose by 3.4% today - the biggest rise in five years.
Campaigners have warned that people “are being priced out of getting to work”, with many commuters seeing their season tickets rise by more than £100.
Meanwhile, average season tickets into London terminals have gone up by £146 this year, according to the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).
The government uses the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation to determine increases in regulated fares.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald described the situation as an “absolute racket”, telling BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that the current rail franchise system has “completely and utterly failed”.
“People have got to the end of their tether, and understandably so,” said the Labour MP.
According to the Press Association, it will now cost £3,152 to travel between Liverpool and Manchester each year (up £108) and £3,092 between Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency and London (up £104).
Meanwhile, an annual pass between Elgin and Inverness has also risen by £100 to £2,904.
CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph accused the government of choosing to “snub rail passengers” by continuing to raise fares while fuel duty is frozen for a seventh consecutive year.
“The extra money that season ticket holders will have to fork out this year is almost as much as drivers will save,” he said.
“That doesn’t seem fair to us or the millions of people who commute by train, especially as wages continue to stagnate. What’s good enough for motorists should be good enough for rail passengers.”
But Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said passengers would see a “huge change” in the coming year due to investment in rail networks.
“We all share the desire to try to keep fares as low as possible,” he told BBC Breakfast. “My job is to run the network as efficiently as possible.”
Meanwhile, the Department for Transport said it was investing in the “biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian times”, providing “faster and better” trains.
“This includes the first trains running though London on the Crossrail project, an entirely new Thameslink rail service and continuing work on the transformative Great North Rail Project,” a spokesperson said.
“We keep fare prices under constant review and the price rises for this year are capped in line with inflation, with 97p out of every £1 paid going back into the railway.”
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators, said: “On average, fares will rise by less than inflation this year.
“For every pound paid in fares, 97p goes directly back to operating and improving services and, with more people travelling, that means more money for investment by the private and public partnership railway to build the better network Britain needs.”