Rail fares in England and Wales are reportedly expected to increase by 4.8% in January, marking the largest price hike in a decade.
Increases are usually associated with the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was confirmed as 3.8% for July this year by the Office for National Statistics.
In March this year, ticket prices in Wales and England increased by around 2.6%.
If the policy is repeated, England and Wales would experience a rise of around 4.8% in the coming year, which would be the biggest rise since 2012.
The cost of annual season tickets, such as Bangor to Llandudno Junction, will rise by $76.59 (£56) to $1674.02 (£1,224), Bridgend to Cardiff Central by $69.75 (£51) to $1530.41 (£1,119), and Carmarthen to Swansea by $84.79 (£62) to $1862.75 (£1,362).
Depending on the provider, an increase in fares for mainline rail services are administered by the UK and Welsh governments.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government was quoted by The National as saying: “We have not made any decisions on changes to rail fares for Transport for Wales services, however we recognise the impact the pandemic has had on personal finances.”
Rail fares are normally hiked every January, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s increase was postponed until 1 March.
In a separate development, the UK Government published its Hydrogen Strategy earlier this week, with an aim to support industries, including transportation, through the development of hydrogen economies.
On rail, the strategy stated: “Rail is already one of the greenest ways of moving people and goods, and government is committed to making it even greener, in line with our net zero target by 2050.
“To decarbonise currently unelectrified parts of the network, electrification will likely be the best solution because electrified trains are faster, quicker to accelerate, more reliable and cheaper. There will also be a role for new traction technologies, like battery and hydrogen trains, on some lines where they make economic and operational sense.”
Welcoming the strategy, Railway Industry Association (RIA) technical director David Clarke said: “Network Rail has identified that up to 1,300km of railway lines will require hydrogen trains in order to achieve the government’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ goal.
“Yet, as we say in RIA’s Rail Decarbonisation Campaign 21, if we are to successfully decarbonise our rail network we need to get started today, in 2021, both electrifying railways lines and beginning the production of hydrogen and battery trains.”