PASSENGERS across the South- West look set to pay more for train travel next year.

The TUC and rail unions have warned passengers that fares look set to increase by 3.6% in January, meaning fare prices have increased nearly 25% over the current Parliament since 2010.

Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, said: “It’s grim news for commuters that they face yet another year of fare hikes above inflation, while their wages keep dragging behind inflation.

The cost to passengers of the failed privatisation of our railways keeps growing year on year.

“We’ve ended up with slower trains and higher fares than countries who have kept their trains in public hands. It’s time to stop private companies profiteering from our railways and to make sure that passengers and taxpayers' money is reinvested to improve our services.

The only way to do this is to bring our railways back under public ownership.”

The News contacted some of the South-West's leading train travel providers to confirmthey would be increasing fares.

James Davis, media relations manager for First Great Western, said: “Unfortunately, it is a little too early to say. What has been released today [Tuesday, August 19] by the Ofice for National Statistics is the retail price index.

“The retail price index is used as part of the Government's formula by which regulated rail fares have to increase by. The formula has been in the past the RPI plus 1%.

“Last year the chancellor held fares price rises at the RPI, without the additional 1%. We are obliged to increase fares by the chancellor's guidelines.”

Richard Gibson, head of communications for CrossCountry, said: “The announcement today was the RPI figure on which next January's fares changes are based in line with Government policy.

“Now that we have this figure we will begin the process of determining any changes to the price of tickets we are responsible for. We would expect to be in a position to communicate any changes to our customers towards the end of the year.”

Responding to the publication of July's RPI inflation figure of 2.5% which helps determine season tickets and other regulated train fares for 2015, Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Money from fares pays for more trains, better stations and faster services on what is already Europe's fastest growing, safest and most improved railway.

“Over the next five years, £38 billion will be invested in improving the network. Government decides the average change to regulated fares, including season tickets, each year.

“For a decade, successive governments have regulated commuter fares so as to increase the share of rail's costs paid by passengers rather than taxpayers.

“Our commitment is to enable future government fares decisions which work best for passengers, by continuing to get more out of every pound we spend and encouraging more train travel to pay for services and improvements.”