Some relief for commuters after rail fare hikes are scaled back for a year

Marion Dakers
COMMUTERS were given some relief from looming price hikes, as the chancellor pledged to cap fare rises at 6.2 per cent in January.

George Osborne said rail fares would rise at one per cent above the retail price index measure of inflation, down from the three per cent previously announced.

He said the government “recognises the pressures that businesses and passengers are under as a result of public transport fares”.

The cap will apply to Tube and bus fares as well as national rail services.

The Treasury has estimated that the lower price rise will cost the government £105m next year.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said it was a positive step, adding that “train companies are working hard to ensure that the change can be implemented in time for the new year”.

The government also plans to consult early next year on ways to make it easier to compare ticket prices.

“Cancelling this January’s increase in fuel duty and lowering the increase in rail fares by two percentage points will go a long way in freeing up purchasing power and ease pressure on households’ squeezed incomes,” said Ernst & Young ITEM Club chief economist Peter Spencer.