Southend's rail passengers could be hit by the largest fares rise in a decade, according to new estimates.

Increases are usually linked to the previous July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was confirmed as 3.8% for July 2021 by the Office for National Statistics today.

No announcement has been made on what will happen to fares next year, but ticket prices in England and Wales rose by an average of around 2.6% in March, representing RPI for July 2020 plus one percentage point.

A repeat of the policy in England and Wales next year would see fares rise by an average of 4.8%, which would be the largest increase since 2012.

That would lead to hikes in the cost of tickets across the country.

In Southend, the cost of an annual season ticket between Southend Central and London stations is currently £3,836.

The estimated increase would see that figure rise by around £184, taking the cost to £4,020.

A monthly ticket (£368.30) would rise by £18, while an anytime day-return (£20.60) would increase by around £1.

A flexi season ticket, which allows eight days of travel in a 28 day period, would go up by roughly £7.50.

It currently costs £156.

Estimates are based on prices given by Network Rail as of today (August 18, 2021).

A spokesman for the UK Government’s Department for Transport said: “No decision has been made on national rail fares.

“The Government is considering a variety of options and we will announce our decision in due course.”

Rail fares are usually increased every January, but the coronavirus pandemic meant this year’s increase was delayed until March 1.

Analysis by the Labour Party indicated that next year average fares could rise to 50% more than they were in 2010.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Rail travel has long been unaffordable for many people, thanks to the Conservatives prioritising the profits of private companies over passengers.

“This would be yet another eye-watering hike hot on the heels of the failure of the Government’s so-called money-saving flexi ticket scheme.”

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, called for fares to be frozen to reduce carbon emissions and encourage commuters to return to towns and cities.

He said: “In the face of a climate emergency, the Government should be doing everything it can to encourage people to choose low-carbon public transport by making it the cheapest option, not hiking rail fares.”