Rail fares are set to increase by an average of 3.1 per cent in the new year, affecting millions of people and increasing many passengers' season tickets by around £100.
The rise in the cost of travelling by train comes despite calls for a price freeze following a year of disruption that saw Network Rail fined for its worst performance in four years.
The hike is slightly less than the retail price index (RPI) of 3.2 per cent and last year's increase of 3.3 per cent, but campaigners have called for future increases to be tied to the consumer price index (CPI), which is generally lower than the RPI.
Rail chiefs have defended the increase, claiming that the additional funds will see a once in a generation investment programme in infrastructure.
Here is how the industry reacted.
RMT union: It's time to re-nationalise the railways
General secretary Mick Cash said:
"This latest fare hike is another kick in the teeth for passengers on Britain's rip-off privatised railways. His cynical attempt to blame this rise on front line rail staff battling in all weathers to keep services running, and facing abuse and assault when the rail operators fail, is pure political cowardice.
"With the vast majority of our rail franchises in foreign state hands this increase means the British people will be paying the highest fares in Europe on our rammed-out and unreliable services to subsidise passengers in Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. That is nothing short of a disgrace.
"The only solution to Britain's rail fare rip-off is a publicly owned railway run solely in the public interest free from the greed of the private train companies."
The RMT has hit commuters with strikes of its own this year, calling industrial action affecting services on Northern and South Western railways, as well as a Central Line strike just before Christmas.
Transport Focus: It's time to use CPI for fairer fares
Chief executive Anthony Smith said:
“Many passengers, still reeling from summer timetable chaos and frustrated by ‘autumn’ disruption, won’t believe fares are going up again! Until day-to-day reliability returns – with fewer significant delays and cancellations – passenger trust won’t begin to recover.
“Passengers now pour over £10bn a year into the rail industry alongside significant government investment, so the rail industry cannot be short of funding. When will this translate into a more reliable railway and better value for money for passengers?”
“It’s also time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on a calculation that uses the consumer prices index, rather than the discredited retail price index.”
The independent watchdog have campaigned on consumers' behalves but are not able to force operators to act. Earlier this week the rail industry launched its first-ever Ombudsman to deal with the mountain of complaints from customers.
Rail Delivery Group: Money from fares allows rail improvements
Chief executive Paul Plummer said:
“Nobody wants to pay more to travel, especially those who experienced significant disruption earlier this year.
“Money from fares is underpinning the improvements to the railway that passengers want and which ultimately help boost the wider economy. That means more seats, extra services and better connections right across the country.”
The group last month announced the introduction of a 26-30 railcard to extend the ever growing number of discount cards available, although it leaves the majority of commuters facing the fare increase head on.
London Travel Watch: The gap between fare prices will continue to rise
Chief executive Janet Cooke commented:
"The confirmation that fares will rise by an average of 3.1% at a time of poor and declining performance, particularly in London and the commuter belt is not good news for passengers.
"This will also mean that the gap between the cheapest and most expensive fares that we have been highlighting to the industry in recent years will widen still further. This once again shows the urgent need to simplify fares."
Travel Watch were one of the appeals bodies for consumers with complaints but a new ombudsman had to be created to handle with the growing number.
Which: Customers must receive compensation for delays
Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets at consumer group Which, said:
“Passengers have suffered horrifically this year from timetable chaos and experienced rail punctuality hitting its lowest level in 12 years and these price hikes will only add to their misery.
“If the rail system is going to start working for passengers, not just train companies, then value for money needs to be a key part of the upcoming government review and passengers must receive automatic compensation for delays and cancellations.”
AJ Bell: Government's use of RPI to hit Brits with hikes must end
Laura Suter, personal finance analyst, said:
“Commuters who have faced delays, cancellations and over-running engineering works will be dismayed.
“We are nearing the £10,000 commute mark, as the cost of a season ticket from Swindon to London, including Tube travel, will rise from £9,448 to £9,741 next year following the increase.
“Commuters already paying high costs on popular routes will face further hikes, for example the commute from Oxford to London, including a London travelcard, will breach the £6,000 mark – rising from £5,932 to £6,116.
“The fact that CPI is used for hikes that benefit Brits, such as state pension increases, tax credits or public-sector final salary schemes, while RPI is used for price hikes on rail fares and setting interest rates for student loans beggars belief. There is no logical justification for RPI’s continued use, and the government’s insistence on using whichever measure best suits it should end."
Commuter Club: Fares should be going down, not up
Chief executive Steve Dukes said:
“Whilst this is a slightly lower fare hike than 2018 at 3.4 per cent, it’s still a kick in the teeth for commuters struggling with overcrowding, strikes and poor service standards on their daily commute.
"For someone on a zone 1-6 [travelcard] this is another £76 a year. However, for super commuters from places like Manchester to London it’s a whopping £466 a year. Commuters are understandably asking whether fares should in fact be going down this year rather than up, given the service."