RAIL fares in Wales are set to rise by nearly five per cent from next month.

Announcing the increase, Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said the 4.9 per cent hike will allow Transport for Wales, which is wholly owned by the Welsh Government, to make improvements to services in south Wales. Meanwhile, mid Wales is still waiting for an hourly service between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth, which was first promised in 2015 and the introduction of new trains on the line.

Plaid Cymru has warned that increasing the cost of rail travel will impact passenger numbers, adding that commuters 'must get value for money' following TfW's poor record on customer satisfaction and cancellations.

Responding to the announcement from Welsh Government, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Transport, Delyth Jewell MS said: “Rail passengers will face another blow with near-inflation rail fare hikes of 4.9% announced today.

"At a time when we should be encouraging more people to use public transport, I'm concerned that this hike could really harm passenger numbers.

“What’s even more confusing is that passengers are expected to pay up despite the Labour Government only recently pledging an extra £236million into Transport for Wales - a number, we were told, that was needed to plug gaps after inaccurate passenger projections. From poor records on customer satisfaction, punctuality, and cancellations – the public must get value for money.

“While Labour may justify this as an investment in rail services in the south, those in the north are missing out yet again.

“The truth of the matter is that we desperately need the £3.9bn denied to Wales from England’s HS2 to invest in public transport infrastructure across Wales and ensure parity between communities. Both Labour and the Conservatives must commit to right this wrong and give Wales what its owed.”

Announcing the rise, which will come into effect from 3 March, Lee Waters MS said: "To continue to be able to make investments, such as our new Ebbw Vale to Newport services, and to meet rising costs whilst minimising the impact on passengers, we are implementing a below inflation increase of 4.9% in rail fares from 3 March 2024. This is in line with the wider rail industry.

"Transport for Wales are committed to making it easier for passengers to travel.

"They are currently trialling brand new Pay As You Go rail fares in South Wales which offer cheaper, tap in - tap out journeys using a phone or bank card.

"South Wales is the first UK location outside of London where rail passengers can use this turn up and go technology. Passengers travelling between Pontyclun, Cardiff and Newport are currently benefitting from this innovation, with a wider rollout initially planned for the South Wales Metro area starting with the Ebbw Vale line this Spring."