Commuters in Stevenage and North Hertfordshire could be hit with a significant increase to their rail fares next year, with some season tickets set to rise by more than £250.

The Department for Transport has said that most fares, including season tickets, can increase by up to 4.9 per cent from March next year.

If the maximum fare increase is applied to services in our area, commuters will be facing a hefty increase to their season ticket prices.

The cost for an annual season ticket between Stevenage and London King's Cross could rise from £4,472 to £4,691, while a comparable ticket between Hitchin and London King's Cross could rise from £4,716 to £4,947.

Commuters travelling between Letchworth and London King's Cross could see a rise from £5,040 to £5,287, while those travelling between Baldock and London King's Cross could see the cost increase from £5,160 to £5,413.

The cost of monthly season tickets would also increase. From Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock to King's Cross, they could cost £450.44, £474.99, £507.62 and £519.68 respectively.

It is unclear how the government have reached the 4.9 per cent figure. It is significantly below July's Retail Prices Index measure of nine per cent, which is traditionally used to determine annual fare rises. 

The Consumer Prices Index, which is a more commonly used inflation figure, was 3.9 per cent in November.

When train fares rose earlier this year, the cap was set at 5.9 per cent.

Mark Harper, the transport secretary, said: “Having met our target of halving inflation across the economy, this is a significant intervention by the Government to cap the increase in rail fares below last year’s rise.


“Changed working patterns after the pandemic mean that our railways are still losing money and require significant subsidies, so this rise strikes a balance to keep our railways running, while not overburdening passengers.

“We remain committed to supporting the rail sector reform outdated working practices to help put it on a sustainable financial footing.”

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, described the rise as "brutal" and "an insult to millions".

Fare changes for Transport for London (TfL) services are set to be announced in the new year.