10 key questions on the annual increase in rail fares

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"Money made out of passengers here is invested in fare subsidies there".

Labour said regulated fares - such as season tickets and standard returns, which comprise nearly half of all fares - have now risen by 32% since 2010, more than twice the level at which median wages have increased in the same period.

"Over the next 12 months we will continue to develop our stations, introduce simpler ticketing including investment in new digital ticketing and ticket vending machines and will open a new depot in Banbury that will support the punctuality and reliability of our trains and create 20 new jobs".

Train tickets have been sent soaring today - in the biggest price increase in five years.

Many savvy commuters renewed their season tickets in the days before the annual rise, meaning they are paying last year's prices.

Other commuter routes that are now more expensive include Liverpool to Manchester (up £108 to £3,152), Neath to Cardiff (up £56 to £1,708) and Elgin to Inverness (up £100 to £2,904).

CBT figures show that average season tickets into London terminals have gone up by £146 this year, compared with £74 last January.

This applies to around half of tickets and includes season tickets.

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Mr Joseph said: "The extra money that season ticket-holders will have to fork out this year is nearly as much as drivers will save. What's good enough for motorists should be good enough for rail passengers".

Fare increases to regulated fares are calculated using the previous July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

But train companies also exploited a rule letting them impose steeper increases on some regulated fares as long as the average overall rise was capped in line with inflation.

Campaigners warned that many people were "being priced out of getting to work".

The CPI is generally lower than the RPI and is used by the government to work out increases in benefits and pensions.

"We need simpler, fairer and cheaper rail fares, a freeze on any further rises and flexible season tickets to help the growing army of part-time workers".

The RMT said every penny of this year's fare rise will go straight into the profits of the train operators.

The Department for Transport says it is investing in the biggest modernisation of the network since Victorian times, with major projects to provide faster and better trains with more seats.

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