WHO IS RIGHT ON RAIL FARES?

 
Tim Wallace
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RAIL fares for commuters jumped by an average of six per cent at the start of the year – but Labour leader Ed Miliband was furious yesterday that some prices increased by up to 11 per cent, demanding to know why Cameron had reversed Labour’s decision to stop the huge rises. David Cameron responded that the rule – average prices can rise by the RPI inflation rate, plus one per cent – was simply Labour’s rule, continued by the coalition. Miliband said the PM was mistaken and should “get his facts right” – so who is right?

The price limit only applies to regulated tickets – broadly, season tickets for commuters. They could rise by RPI plus one per cent – so a total of six per cent this January.

However, across each rail company, individual fares can rise an additional five per cent – as long as the average rise is below RPI plus one per cent.

This large flexible element was increased from two to five per cent in 2004 – so Cameron is right that they follow Labour’s rules.

However, then-transport secretary Lord Adonis scrapped the extra five per cent in 2010.

Miliband says Cameron reversed this change, which indeed he did – but Department for Transport franchise agreements show Labour’s Lord Adonis was planning to do this too. While right on some issues, the leader of the opposition needs to “get his facts right” on others.