TLC fears a season ticket will cost £4,788 by 2014.

Research published by Tonbridge Line Commuters suggests that if train fares increase at their current rate then a season ticket between Tonbridge and London will cost £4,788 by 2014. This is outlined in the following report

Since 2007 the cost of an annual season ticket between Tonbridge and London has increased by 35%, when the RPI has increased by only 14%. A season ticket now costs £3408 which for many people is their greatest annual expense. Increasing rail costs could have a severe impact on the Tonbridge economy as this may deter tourism and inward investment from other parts of the UK. Most people believe that season tickets and other "protected fares" are limited to increases of "RPI + 3%". However, this is NOT the case. This figure corresponds to the allowable increase in overall ticket revenue from a "basket of fares". Therefore if less people travel by train, the Department for Transport allows the train operator to increase fares by more than "RPI + 3%" to make up for this revenue shortfall and to reduce the subsidy it pays. The increase of an individual ticket is actually limited to "RPI + 3% + 5%" - i.e. "RPI + 8%".

This explains why season tickets have increased so much above inflation in recent years. For further information please read the excellent publication by Sevenoaks Rail Travellers' Association

The table and graphs below present the raw data used for this conclusion:

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Table 1 - Table showing Season ticket prices between Tonbridge and London and the RPI over the same period. RPI data from the Office for National Statistics.

*** Estimated values: It is assumed that RPI will be 5%, and that falling overall revenue will result in fare increases of RPI + 8% - i.e. 13%.

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Figure 1 - Graph showing how season ticket prices have risen far higher than RPI since 2007

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Figure 2 - Graph showing season ticket prices from Tonbridge to London. At the present rate, in 2014 a season ticket will cost GBP4788 per year. This could severely impact the Tonbridge economy.