By Marcus Leach

As UK inflation rose for the first time in four months commuters who use trains received a further blow with the news that fares could rise by more than 6.2% in January.

The rise is set to be double the rate of inflation in some areas. The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation in July - which stood at 3.2% - is used to calculate the rises.

It has been announced that the extra money is helping to fund huge investments across the extensive rail network.

However, some fares may rise by an even higher rate, as the planned rises are based on an average across regulated fares, including season and off-peak tickets. Train companies are within their rights to increase these prices by 5% more, as long as they cut ticket prices elsewhere.

“News this morning that rail price hikes of 6.2 per cent will be introduced from January 2013 has rightly pointed to the challenges this will pose for commuters in a tough economic climate," Isabel Montesdeoca, SVP and GM, Concur EMEA.

"However, the planned increase in off-peak intercity journeys could also have a significant impact on businesses, particular smaller ones. For many businesses, train travel is the preferred way to conduct important customer or partner meetings that are essential to growing the company. Data from Concur shows that UK businesses spent 9% more on rail travel in 2011 compared to 2010.

"It is vital that businesses reliant on train travel have the tools in place to carefully monitor their rail usage to understand the impact of rising fees on their bottom line, and if necessary, explore alternative modes of transport. The insight and analysis provided by automated expense systems is one way businesses can ensure they are proactively keeping on top of the financial impact of travel, and making smart business decisions that will save the company much-needed cash.”

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