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Artwork courtesy of Nathalie Siah

Rail fares due to rise

RAIL fares are on the rise, and will strike train users in England from January 2015.

The Retail Price Index (RPI), a broader measure of inflation, dropped to 2.5% in July, meaning that rail fares are allowed to increase by the government’s formula of RPI, plus one per cent. Chancellor George Osbourne, however, has said fares will be capped at 2.5 per cent, and the additional one per cent will be scrapped.

Transport Correspondent for the BBC, Richard Westcott, says the government wants rail users to pay more of the bill for running our trains, so that taxpayers pay less and predicts that prices will continue to rise for some years.

To put this into perspective, the cost of a 2014 season ticket from Reading to London Paddington, a 35 minute journey and a popular commuter route, is £4,088. Without the cap, this would increase by £143 to £4,231 in 2015, meaning the cost of a season ticket would have increased by £632 since 2010.

What’s more, the cost may affect students who regularly commute to campus or for part-time work by train, or even the cost of visiting home on any regular basis.

In Britain, commuters pay the highest fares if they show up and buy a ticket on the day of travel, but long distance journeys can be cheaper on trains in Britain than in Europe. Although this is only applicable if you buy the lowest price advance ticket on a fixed-time train. In an ideal world we would all have fixed plans far ahead enough to do this, and where possible this is by far the best option we have to save money.

As a young person, purchasing a railcard is still the easiest and cheapest option for regular train travel. It provides students with the best solution for reducing rail fares where money is limited. It can also be attached to an oyster card for travel around London.

Priced at £30, the initial cost of the railcard seems expensive but given that it saves a third of the cost of the ticket, the money will quickly be saved if travel is regular.

About Katrina Hordern


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