RAIL users are set to be hit in the pocket this year with a nearly four per cent increase on ticket prices.

West Midlands Railway (WMR) and Great Western Railway (GWR), which operates services for rail commuters in Worcestershire, have both confirmed the rise would be seen on their tickets from March.

The hike means the price of an off-peak day return on a WMR train from Worcester Foregate Street to Birmingham New Street will go up to £10.50, and up to £11.41 for a similar ticket from Worcester Foregate Street to Hereford.

Meanwhile an off-peak day single standard price on GWR from Great Malvern to Hereford will go up to £9.34.

The government confirmed in mid-December that train firms would be allowed to increase prices by 3.8 per cent as the country’s railways try to offset the impact of the pandemic.

Since 2010, with the latest 3.8 per cent rise, the average price for train tickets has gone up to 48.9 per cent.

Commuters outside Worcester Foregate Street on Thursday told us they were frustrated and not happy at being forced to pay even more. One commuter told us: "It is getting ridiculous now."

West Midlands Railway spokesman said: “Since the start of the pandemic taxpayers have invested more than £14 billion to keep the railway running.

“The fare increase announced by the government will help meet some of these costs and strikes a balance between the costs for taxpayers and rail passengers.

“We offer a range of ticket types to help passengers get value for money, including new Flexi Season tickets for those travelling less than five days per week.”

Andy Bagnall, director general of the Rail Delivery Group - speaking on behalf of GWR - said: “The government’s decision to hold fares down in line with July’s inflation is welcome compared to last years’ above inflation increase and the rate of inflation right now.

“It is important that fares are set at a level that will encourage more people to travel by train in the future, helping to support a clean and fair recovery from the pandemic.

“We know the railway must not take more than its fair share from the taxpayer which is why the rail industry is working to create a financially sustainable and more passenger-focussed service that will both keep costs down long-term and attract people back to the train.”