RAIL travellers face a sobering New Year after being told their return to work will be met by a 3.1 per cent ticket price rise.

Commuters making the daily journey from Evesham to Worcester Foregate Street will see their return ticket price with operator First Great Western rise from £7 to £8.10 if starting the journey before 9am.

Seven-day tickets along the same route will cost £36.60, up from £35.50, while one month tickets will set commuters back £140.60, instead of the current £136.40.

A yearly season ticket from Evesham to Worcester will now cost £1,464 instead of £1,420.

Other rail companies have also put their ticket prices up including London Midland, which serves Worcester and Hereford, whose tickets will rise 2.9 per cent from £10.20 to £10.50. The rises come into effect today (Thursday). Train companies can put up regulated fares, including season tickets, by as much as two per cent above the agreed price-increase figure which, for 2014, is 3.1 per cent.

Unregulated fares – such as off-peak leisure tickets – are not capped so train companies can put them up as much as they like.

First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood said: “I am delighted to say that all of our fares will be kept in line with inflation at 3.1 per cent.

“The money raised by government through fares ensures investment in more trains, better stations and faster services.

“However, anything which reduces the cost of price rises is good news for customers and the industry as a whole.”

The Rail Delivery Group has said the overall average increase would be 2.8 per cent, which it said was the lowest overall increase in four years.