Passengers to be hit by price hikes on 60% of rail journeys

RAIL passengers are to face price increases on 60% of all train journeys in Scotland.

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The increases, determined by today's Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation figure, will see peak journey fares rise 2.5% from January.

However, off-peak fares will not be increased.

Peak-time increases will be limited to the inflation figure of 2.5%, released this morning by the Office for National Statistics.

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: "Fares for four in 10 journeys will be frozen in Scotland.

"There will be no rise for off- peak fares in January. And peak-time increases will be

limited to inflation, one per cent below similar fares south of the border.

"This means that, overall, our fare increases will be below inflation."

In December 2012 the Scottish Government announced off-peak fares would be frozen after 2013 and, as long as the RPI rate was below 3.5%, fares would

remain static until the end of the current ScotRail franchise in 2015.

South of the border fares are set to increase by 1% more than inflation, seeing prices rise 3.5% on some journeys.

The New Year increase will take the overall increase in fares in England and Wales to about 24.7% during this Parliament, according to the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

The CBT said that while fares had gone up by more than 24% since 2010, wages had risen only 6.9% in the same period.

CBT public transport campaigner Martin Abrams said: "If the Government does not put an end to above-inflation fare increases quickly, ordinary commuters will be priced off the train and could be forced into agonising decisions such as moving house or quitting their jobs."

Unions forming the TUC's campaign group Action for Rail are holding demonstrations today

at stations across the country.

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