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Rail passengers face an increase in season ticket prices of 1.6%, despite people being urged to return to their workplaces following the coronavirus lockdown.
Rail fares are usually increased every January, with the rise set by the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was announced by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday.
The increase applies to regulated fares, which will include season tickets, anytime urban tickets and off-peak long-distance returns.
There is speculation ministers are considering delaying January’s rise at a time when passenger numbers have plummeted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Passenger watchdog Transport Focus called for a major shake-up of rail fares to encourage passengers back to the railways.
Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Our research tells us almost two in three former rail commuters expect to work from home more so we will probably now travel less for work, both commuting and on business.
“The government must go above and beyond a fares freeze and get train companies to offer a combination of cut-price deals, carnet-style ‘bundles’, flexible season tickets for commuters and better-value-for-money fares across the board.”
According to figures from the Department of Transport, rail travel is below a third of what it was before lockdown.