COMMUTERS are set to be hit in the wallet again as rail fares are due to increase in January.

Thousands of rail passengers from Swindon will see an average 6.2 per cent fare rise next year.

Rail passengers face higher than expected price increases after the retail prices index inflation figure for July – used to set regulated fares, including season and saver tickets – rose to 3.2 per cent from 2.8 per cent the previous month.

That means that the average season ticket will rise by £138 to £2,364 next year, while thousands of passengers are expected to shell out more than £5,000 a year for the first time.

Commuters from Swindon saw a season ticket to London go up by nearly £200 at the beginning of this year, and it has already been revealed that per mile Swindon is in the top 10 of rail fare prices in the country.

Travellers today were left angry by the announcement of another increase – which they say is putting them off using the trains.

Paul Philips, 32, from Reading, travels to Swindon every day for work. He said: “I was expecting there to be another increase but I don’t think people thought it would be quite as high.

“Every year train prices keep going up but quality and efficiency are going down, so something is definitely not working.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said the Government was investing large sums in the rail network to tackle rising costs of travel.

He said: “It is absolutely essential we do everything we can to avoid the 11 per cent hikes that we saw with the last Labour Government in 2009.

“For that reason we have put £9.4bn of investment into the railways to drive up quality and efficiency to tackle the rising costs – and this cannot come quickly enough.”

A spokesman for First Great Western said: “This is not about individual fares, the vast majority of our fares are set by the Government.

“These regulated fares are governed by the BFT who give us a formula by which to calculate these fares.

“The first is the RPI which is based on inflation and covers our running cost.

“The second, which they are saying is going to be three per cent, is the part of the fare that is paid by the rail user that takes away from what the tax payer has to pay.

“We don’t see that increase as a train operator.

“The cost of motoring went up by about 13 per cent – the rises that this brings in won’t come near to that.”