MPs have called for greater clarity on how rail companies benefit from taxpayers' support to prevent "waste and profiteering".
A report by the House of Commons' Transport Select Committee is critical of the high fares paid by commuters, insisting these should not be forced up during peak hours in order to cut the costs of running the rail network.
Other cost-saving measures such as shedding staff and selling tickets using machines have also drawn a cautious response from the committee, which said it was "very concerned" this could make them unsafe at night.
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It comes just two days after inflation-busting average rises of 3.9% took effect for passengers.