RAIL fares in England will increase by up to 5.9% from March 5 next year, the Department for Transport has said.
The government has intervened to ensure rail fare increases for 2023 are capped.
The rise will affect season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long distance journeys and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.
It said this is 6.4 percentage points lower than the inflation figure fare rises are usually based on.
Fares for passengers usually go up according to July inflation figures.
Inflation in July this year was 12.3%, so this rise is far lower than it would have usually been.
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The government says the rise is necessary to support investment and the financial stability of the railway.
Fares will officially rise on March 5, 2023 and like last year, the government is freezing them for January and February.
This is so passengers have more time to purchase cheaper flexible and season tickets at the existing rate.
Fares usually rise each year in January but were delayed to March because of Covid and have now been paced back again.
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Train companies can set the prices of other tickets that are unregulated fares.
Rail fares last went up in March this year by 3.8% – the biggest jump in nearly a decade.
Despite the cap below inflation the rise means people still face a huge hike in costs.
For example, the annual cost of a weekly commute from Oxford to London is £5,756 using a season ticket – it will now go up by £339 making it £6,096.
A season ticket from Tunbridge Wells to London will rise by more than £309 to £5,557.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This is the biggest-ever government intervention in rail fares.
“I’m capping the rise well below inflation to help reduce the impact on passengers.
“It has been a difficult year and the impact of inflation is being felt across the UK economy.
“We do not want to add to the problem.
“This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who help pay for them.”
David Sidebottom, director at watchdog Transport Focus, said: “No-one likes prices going up. In our latest research, less than half of passengers think the railway currently performs well on delivering value for money tickets.
“After months of unreliable services and strike disruption, it’s clear that too many passengers are not getting a value for money service.
“Capping fares below inflation and the delay until March is welcome and will go some way to easing the pain, but the need for reform of fares and ticketing in the longer-term must not be forgotten.”
How to save money on your train ticket
Here are some top tips to help you save cash on rail fares.
If you're taking a lengthy train journey then you could save hundreds of pounds by splitting your tickets.
You won't need to change trains and National Rail lets you split your ticket as long as the train calls at the station you buy the tickets for.
One site that works this out for you is Splitticketing.co.uk.
Buy a season ticket
Regular travellers should be able to save by purchasing either a seven day, monthly or annual season ticket, which will allow them to make the journey an unlimited number of times as long as it's valid.
If you're making the same journey on three or more days a week, then a seven-day season ticket is likely to save you money, compared to buying a new one every day.
You can check to see if a season ticket will save you money on your trip with National Rail's season ticket calculator.
Book at least 12 weeks in advance
Network Rail releases its timetable 12 weeks in advance, so ticket firms usually make their fares available at this time.
Just like plane tickets, the earlier you book the lower the price you'll pay for your seat.
You can sign up to the Trainline's ticket alert service and it will tell you when cheap advance tickets go on sale for a particular journey.
Also, the National Rail's future travel chart shows the furthest advance date that you can buy tickets.
Save money with a Railcard
If you're a regular traveller then a railcard should shave a third off the price of your ticket.
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Just make sure you'll make more in savings over a year than the price of the Railcard.
See Railcard.co.uk for more information.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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