As if daily rail travel is not stressful enough, the latest retail price index figures will trigger the next price rises Get ready for another big rise in train fares. This Wednesday we’ll see the publication of the latest retail prices index (RPI). The Office for National Statistics thinks it is such a poor indicator of prices that it now designates it as “Not a National Statistic.” Yet this non-statistic, which is nearly always significantly higher than the CPI (consumer prices index) is nonetheless used as the official basis for raising train fares. And all the signs are that the squeeze on commuters is only going to get worse. The cost of season tickets for commuters goes up in January, but the rise is dictated by the level of RPI the previous July, a figure usually published in mid-August. When the July figure for RPI is released this Wednesday, it will be at least 3.4% (its current level) but more likely 3.5% or even 3.6%, as petrol prices and home energy bill increases feed into the index. So with grim inevitability train fares will, yet again, rise faster than wages.
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