Campaigners want curb on rail fare rises
Campaigners today urged an end to above-inflation rail fare rises amid widespread anger at continuing increases.
The call came as it was claimed that some season ticket holders have seen their fares rise by more than 50 per cent in the last 10 years.
And the TUC said average train fares had risen nearly three times faster than average wages since the beginning of the recession in 2008.
The figures emerged as annual fare rises take effect on the railways today, with the average season ticket increase being 4.3 per cent and the overall rise for all tickets 3.9 per cent.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said its research showed that in the last decade London commuters had seen average season ticket costs increase by £1,300, fares grow 20 per cent faster than wages and average costs in real terms rising by £360.
It added that in the last 10 years rail fares had gone up substantially in all parts of England, but that there were significant differences between routes over that period:
Annual fares from Ashford International in Kent to London have risen by more than £2,000;
Fares from Sevenoaks in Kent to London have increased by nearly 90 per cent, from £1,660 to £3,112;
In contrast, fares from Stevenage in Hertfordshire to London have risen by £772 – an increase of 30 per cent, but below the increase generated by inflation alone.
CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “The impact of successive governments’ policies on rail fares is appalling. It’s truly shocking that we have deliberately made getting the train to work an extravagance that many struggle to afford. The time has come not just to stop the rises but to reduce fares.”
CBT has launched a petition calling on the Government to name a date to end the above-inflation formula used for determining the annual rise and commit to reducing fares relative to inflation.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “At a time when real wages are falling and household budgets are being squeezed, rail travellers are being forced to endure yet another year of inflation-busting fare increases.
“As well as having to shell out record amounts of money for their tickets, passengers also face the prospect of travelling on trains with fewer staff and having less access to ticket offices. They are being asked to pay much more for less.”
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, blamed the Government.
He said: “We understand commuters don’t like to pay more to travel to work, but it is the Government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year.”