10:02AM, Thursday 02 January 2014
Commuters are once again facing increases in rail fares from today but this year's rise is the lowest it has been in four years.
Passengers have been facing above inflation rises for the past several years but train operators have been forced to bring their regulated increases in line with Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation.
It follows an announcement by Chancellor George Osborne that he would be changing the formula for fares calculation in his autumn budget statement.
It means First Great Western fares will go up by an average of 3.1 per cent, in line with July inflation levels.
A 12-month season ticket from Maidenhead to London Paddington now costs £2,840, up from £2,756 last year.
The changes affect advance purchase, season tickets, anytime, off-peak and super off-peak tickets.
South West Trains, which covers journeys between Windsor and London Waterloo, has announced fares will go up by an average of 3 per cent.
Watchdog group Passenger Focus has welcomed the move to cap rises at inflation levels.
But David Sidebottom, acting chief executive of Passenger Focus, said: "This is a good time for the industry to look at the value for money of fares; only just over four in ten passengers are currently happy with the value of their ticket.
"What is now needed is a more flexible fares structure that delivers the type of products that passengers want."
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