32. When the then Minister of State for Transport,
Lord Adonis appeared before us in February, we were keen to know
whether regulated rail fares would decrease on average in January
2010, if RPI was below -1% in July 2009. Lord Adonis said:
Let me make it absolutely clear to the Committee
that we stand by the RPI+1% formula as it applies to most TOCs.
If RPI+1% would lead to a fall in fares we will carry through
a reduction in fares next January.
When he appeared before us again in June, he confirmed
that the policy on RPI+1 as well as the commitment to removing
the fares basket flexibility remained unchanged:
RPI is, at the moment, at -1.1%. I see that Oxford
Economics estimate that in July it could be -2%. If it is indeed
-2% then most regulated fares will fall next January. I gave that
commitment to the Committee when I last appeared and I repeat
it today. On your second point about the basket of fares and moving
the flexibility with the basket, we stand by that policy change
too and that will also be carried into effect next year, so there
will not be the flexibility for fares to change within the basket
as has been the case up to now.
welcome the Secretary of State's confirmation that the RPI+1%
formula will apply for 2010 fares. This means regulated fares
could decrease next year. It is only right that passengers, who
have borne the brunt of unacceptable increases in recent years,
should gain some respite during these difficult financial times.