By Daniel Hunter
The government has announced that the freeze on regulated rail fares will be extended into 2015.
The Chancellor George Osborne also announced that rail operators will no longer be able to increase individual fares by up to 2% above the permitted national average.
Operators were previously able to increase prices by as much as 5.5%. But the announcement means the freeze, which will cost £100m by 2015/16, will see no regulated rail fare rise by more than 2.5%.
These announcements extend the freeze that was brought in at last year’s Autumn Statement, and will be the second year in a row that regulated fare rises have been capped at inflation.
This will reduce the cost of many of the one billion journeys made by rail passengers in England every year and for around a billion more made on the Tube. As a result of the changes made by the government, over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders will have made a combined saving of around £75 over 2014 and 2015.
The government has also pledged over £16 billion of support for the rail industry over the period from 2014 to 2019 in order to improve the capacity and quality of a network which is seeing a vast growth in demand.
The fares passengers pay will continue to support a major programme of rail improvements which is set to deliver crucial benefits for passengers, including relief from crowding on some of the nation’s busiest routes.
The Chancellor George Osborne said:
“Support for hardworking taxpayers is at the heart of our long term economic plan. It's only because we've taken difficult decisions on the public finances that we can afford to help families further.
"I can announce that no regulated rail fares will rise by more than inflation in 2015, which together with last year’s freeze will save season ticket holders around £75 over 2014 and 2015.”
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