DfT Disingenuous With Rail Fares Price Increase Stats

The DfT recently announced it has curtailed the level of rail fares increase to “3.8%, less than the current inflation figure of 7.1%”. See their official DfT Press Release here.  But the headline is not as generous as it sounds, because the government rail fares price increase formula of “RPI + 1%” is based on the RPI figure for the preceding July. In fact, July’s figure was 3.8% so under the formula fares could only have gone up by a maximum of 4.8%. It is the November 2021 RPI figure which is 7.1%, and this would not have been used in calculating the permitted increase for 2022. So yes, we’re grateful for taking the off the 1%, and also, as last year, deferring implementing the increase from January to March, but please don’t pretend you are reducing the expected price increase by 3.3% when in fact it’s only 1%. And at the same time, we might ask what the strategy is for getting passengers back on to rail. Because the permanent service cuts that are starting to pop up all over the country won’t help return the railways to profitability but will only start another downward spiral of declining passenger numbers. No point having a “Beeching Reversal Fund” whilst at the same time copying Beeching’s policies.


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