Rail fares in England and Wales have increased by 4.9 per cent on average, adding hundreds of pounds onto the cost of travel for regular rail passengers.

The latest increase, which came into effect on Sunday, March 3, takes the cost of an Anytime Travelcard from Woking to London Waterloo to £38.20.

Those buying annual season tickets will also have to stump up an eye-watering £4,072 if travelling from Woking into the capital.

The rise is above the current inflation rate of four per cent and the timing “couldn’t be worse” according to campaign group SWR Watch.

Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, Jeremy Varns of the rail watchdog said those using South Western Railway “may question where their money is going”.

“Hundreds of weekly services are cancelled or formed of fewer carriages than planned, leading to overcrowding and delays,” he said.

Defending the rises, ministers said the decision was “striking a balance”, with rail revenues still about 20 per cent below pre-pandemic levels and the railway requiring larger-than-usual public subsidies.