Intervention to keep rail fares down

  • rail fare increases for 2023 to be capped at 5.9% – 6.4 percentage points below July 2022’s RPI
  • biggest ever government intervention will help reduce the impact of high inflation for commuters and passengers
  • a rise is necessary to support crucial investment and the financial stability of the railway

The government has acted with the biggest intervention in history to ensure rail fare increases for 2023 are capped at 5.9%, 6.4 percentage points lower than RPI figure on which they are historically based.

Fares will officially rise on 5th March 2023 and like last year, the government is freezing them for the entirety of January and February, giving commuters and passengers more time to purchase flexible and season tickets at the existing rate.

Due to unprecedented levels of inflation, the government has, for this year only, aligned the increase to July 2022’s average earnings growth instead of RPI, more than halving the increase facing passengers, ensuring it’s easier on family finances while not overburdening taxpayers who have subsidised the running of the railways to the tune of £31 bilion since the pandemic.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper:

This is the biggest ever government intervention in rail fares. I’m capping the rise well below inflation to help reduce the impact on passengers.

It has been a difficult year and the impact of inflation is being felt across the UK economy. We do not want to add to the problem.

This is a fair balance between the passengers who use our trains and the taxpayers who help pay for them.

The rail industry is said to be facing serious financial difficulty, which is one of the reasons the government claim why trade unions must agree to cost saving reforms. Taxpayers across the country contributed £31 billion to the railways over the course of the pandemic to ensure stability for staff and avoid job losses. The 2023 rail fares are to strike a balance between the needs of rail passengers and taxpayers as we seek a sustainable long-term financial position following the pandemic.

Over the years regulated rail fares have increased closely in line with inflation, no more than 1% above or below RPI. The government are recognising the wider economic challenges currently commuters and passengers face, and has taken action to link this year’s rate with July 2022’s average earnings growth, instead of RPI, and prevented an increase of 12.3%.


UK workers are facing increasing costs and challenges, with significant increases the cost of working adds to the challenges of workers returning to the office, thus placing pressures for wage inflation with demands for increasing pay being faced by employers.

PAYadvice.UK 26/12/2022

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