What will rail fare increases mean for the self-employed?

Another year, another rise in rail fare prices - bad news for the self-employed who regularly catch trains for work purposes.

Whether you commute to an office or catch trains for meetings across the country, the 2.3 per cent average increase in the cost of rail travel could put a strain on those running their own businesses.

Break down of the changes

The rise in rail prices affects both regulated fares (including season tickets) and unregulated fares such as off-peak tickets.

The average price of a rail ticket will be 2.3 per cent more than it was last year, but in some cases prices may rise by as much as seven per cent. The average season ticket holder in the UK will be paying £80 more a year.

And while travellers to London will feel the biggest sting, the changes are country-wide. Those who use the Virgin East Coast service will see their rail fares increase by 5.5 per cent.

Even when adjusting for inflation, ticket prices have risen by around 25 per cent since the mid-90s, while in some places fares have spiked by 40 per cent in just a decade.

Poor services leaves commuters angry

Campaigners for better transport in the UK have called the changes a ‘kick in the teeth’ for those who need to commute for their work.

“With the chaos on Southern, lacklustre performance in Scotland and stalled electrification on the Great Western main line, passengers are going to wonder what they are getting for their increased ticket price,” said Bruce Williamson of independent campaign group Railfuture.

The increase in fares, which are introduced today, come as Southern Rail announce another week of strikes will commence on January 9.

Alternatives for small business owners?

Unfortunately for those who’re now considering driving to cut the costs, the price of fuel could be up to 125p per litre by the end of this month. This comes after the price of petrol rose to 119p in October last year.

Fortunately, one of the big tech trends due to take off this year is remote and distributed working - perhaps it’s time to ditch to traditional face to face meetings and consider video conferencing where possible.

Will the increase in rail fares affect your business? Sound off in the comments.

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