You may have spotted political protests outside of your local rail station today – but what was it for?
This time, not striking staff. Following fare increase at the weekend, a survey was carried out by Action for Rail – and it showed that UK workers are spending an average of 13% of their monthly wages on commuting by rail, which the group claims make commuting London ‘the most expensive in the world’.
So how does this compare to other countries’ fares? Well, Italian commuters spend on average 2% of their wage, the Spanish 3%, and Germans 4%. French commuters are the closest to Brits in the report, but they still spend over a third less – making the UK the most expensive by quite a margin.
The £357.90 monthly season ticket from Chelmsford to the UK capital would cost just £37 for the equivalent in Rome, £56 in Barcelona, and £95 in Berlin. Even the £234 paid in Paris was 30% less than the UK season ticket.
The fare rise over the weekend saw 1.1% increase in prices. Whilst the Government had promised to freeze rail prices in real terms, they’re still linked to the Retail Price Index, which means that they can still go up further than inflation.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “It’s hardly surprising that UK passengers think rail travel is bad value for money. Years of failed privatisation have left us with exorbitant ticket prices, overcrowded trains and ageing infrastructure. Ministers need to wake up to this reality instead of allowing train companies to milk the system at taxpayers’ and commuters’ expense.”
The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, described the latest fare rise as “national rail ripoff day”, saying that the British public would “awake to another kick in the teeth from the greedy private train companies”.
We’re already seeing commuters switch to liftsharing rather than using the trains to save on ticket prices. What do you think – are you seeing value for money from your rail journeys?
Photo credit: Geograph.org.uk
Author Lex Barber