The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has defended the proposed rise in rail fares across the UK, claiming it is ‘vital investment’. New regulation and pricing is expected to push train fares by an average of 8% next year, which will increase the cost of domestic travel in the UK. However, ATOC said the fare increase is needed to improve services and infrastructure. “The Government has decided that many fares need to rise above inflation for the next three years to help pay for more trains, better stations and faster services,” said David Mapp, commercial director at ATOC. “Increasing the money raised from fares will mean that taxpayers contribute less to the running of the railways, whilst ensuring that vital investment can continue. All additional money raised through the change to RPI+3 will go straight back to the Government”. He said this would help to limit fare increases in the future.