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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Rail fares to rise again but savings for 16 and 17 year-olds should be welcomed

August 14, 2019 4:01 PM

Following the Government's announcement this morning of the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for July, it is expected that rail fares will rise by another 2.8% in January.

New 16-17 Saver Card will provide ½ price rail travel for 16 and 17 year-olds.

Kent's rail users have expressed dismay and frustration at the prospect of another 2.8% increase in rail fares in January. Rail campaigners have long argued that rail fair increases should be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is the Government's official measure of inflation. CPI is consistently lower than inflation. The latest figure for CPI was down at 2.1%

Britain has the highest rail fares in Europe and the extra costs will hit Kent commuters' pockets hard. Here are some of the prospective increases in the costs of annual season tickets:


2019 price

2020 price*


Sevenoaks - London Terminals




Staplehurst - London Terminals




Maidstone - London Terminals




Maidstone - London Terminals (HS1)




Ashford - London Terminals (HS1)




Canterbury West - London Terminals (HS1)




Gravesend - London Terminals




Gravesend - London Terminals (HS1)




Jenny RandersonCommenting earlier today, Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson, Jenny Randerson, said: "Yet again, the Conservative Government has confirmed a steep rise in train fares well ahead of wages, using RPI when CPI is more accurate and lower. The Liberal Democrats are calling for a complete freeze on rail fares until the Department for Transport gets its act together and runs a reliable, efficient rail service."

Ian Chittenden, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for transport at County Hall, added: "Accessible and affordable public transport is vital if we are to combat the crippling congestion and pollution on our roads. Yet only 17% of public transport journeys are made by rail. It is clear that the Government needs to make travel by train a much more attractive option, rather than ramping up fares."

Ian ChittendenToday's announcement does include some better news for 16 and 17 year-olds in Kent. From next month they will be able to purchase a 16-17 Saver Card which will permit ½ price travel on all trains. The card will cost £30.

Use of the card will provide a school pupil travelling from Staplehurst to Tonbridge with a saving of £17.75 per week. For journeys from Faversham to Canterbury the saving will be £13.40 per week; and the saving will be £13.10 per week for journeys from Lenham to Maidstone.

Ian commented: "This should be very welcome for 16 and 17 year-olds in Kent and will help make train travel a viable alternative to road transport."

For more information on the 16-17 Saver Card click here.