Rail fares to rise by 3.1% in January

Millions of commuters will have to pay an average of 3.1% more for rail tickets from 2 January.

The rise, announced by industry body the Rail Delivery Group, follows a year of disruption on some lines.

There had been calls for a price freeze following the chaos caused by the introduction of new timetables in May.

The rise, which is lower than the 3.4% average rise for fares in 2018, means another £100 for a Manchester to Liverpool annual season ticket.

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Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said the rail industry got £10bn a year from passengers, who wanted a reliable railway offering better value for money.

Fewer than half (45%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to Transport Focus.

Alex Hayman of consumer group Which? said the new price rises would only add to passengers’ misery after a year of timetable chaos, with rail punctuality falling to its lowest level in 12 years.

“Value for money needs to be a key part of the upcoming government review and passengers must receive automatic compensation for delays and cancellations,” he said.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said the increase showed “a government and rail industry out of touch with passenger concerns”, while RMT union general secretary Mick Cash called it “another kick in the teeth for passengers on Britain’s rip-off privatised railways”.