Train passengers will be met with hiked rail fares from today, Sunday, March 5, as the cost of a ticket increases by nearly 6%.

It comes as regulated tickets in England and Wales will jump by 5.9% on average, adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of many annual season tickets.

However, many have shown disagreement with the increase, which is the biggest in 11 years, amid poor performance for rail operators.

As the railway service has been disrupted by a series of issues such as staff shortages and sickness, industrial action, severe weather and infrastructure failures.

But Rail minister Huw Merriman said the increase is “well below inflation and delayed”, saying: “I understand it has been a difficult year and people are feeling the pinch which is why – through the biggest ever Government intervention – we capped the rise well below inflation and delayed it coming into force.”

Annual increases in fares were traditionally implemented on the first working day of each year, but they have been postponed by several months since 2021.

Speaking of the increase, a spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “The Government’s decision to hold fares down below current inflation is understandable.

“It is important that fares are set at a level that is appropriate for both the industry and its customers.”

How much will train tickets cost and what tickets are affected?

The cap on increases in regulated rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales is set by the Westminster, Scottish and Welsh Governments respectively.

These include season tickets on commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.

Regulated fare rises have previously been linked to the Retail Price Index measure of inflation for the previous July, which in 2022 was 12.3%.

Whitchurch Herald: person using train ticket machineperson using train ticket machine (Image: PA)

But the Westminster and Welsh Governments aligned this year’s rises with July’s average earnings growth, which was 5.9%.

Train operators set unregulated fares, although their decisions are heavily influenced by governments due to contracts introduced because of the virus crisis.

An example of a ticket increase will see the Brighton to London season ticket rise by £313 from £5,304 to £54,617.

Whilst a Neath to Cardiff annual ticket will rise from £1,920 to £2,033 seeing a £113 rise.