Today the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced that UK inflation dipped slightly in July compared to the month of June.
The consumer prices index (CPI) fell from 2.9% in June to 2.8% in July, largely due to a drop in the cost of air fares and clothing. But while CPI is the official rate of inflation, and therefore most widely watched, this month the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which now sits at 3.1%, takes on particular significance.
July’s RPI figure is used to determine the maximum increase in rail fares which train operators can charge from January 2014. Rail operators in England are allowed to increase regulated fares, which include season tickets, by July’s RPI figure plus 1% i.e. 4.1%.
For long-distance commuters, who already endure among the most expensive rail travel in Europe, the rises will increase the annual cost of their journey to work by hundreds of pounds, way above the rise in average wages.
Yet some ticket prices may increase by as much as 9.1% as train operators are allowed to vary ticket prices by up to 5% on selected routes (as long as this is offset elsewhere on other fares).
These proposed increases have triggered angry reaction from pressure groups and demonstrations at a number of stations.
How to cut the cost of rail fares
But there are ways to cut the cost of rail travel by hundreds of pounds despite the increases. Just read my article 'How to slash the cost of train travel' for more details.
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