Friday, November 26, 2010

Is this normal?

Before the election, the LibDems promised cheaper train fares. That must be why you're ticket's going up.

Look at the picture above. A single off-peak ticket connecting two towns in the same area of England. If you thought £32-20 was already taking the piss, then you've got another thing coming.

And that's because train fares are set to rise by an average 6.2 per cent, well above the rate of inflation. And that's the "regulated" ones, because otherwise train companies can charge as much as they like.

If you're priced out of big cities and you've got to commute each day to go to work, season tickets are going to be even more unaffordable.

From January on, for instance, a season ticket from Brighton to London will cost you an extra £276 with the price further escalating in the coming four years.

Of course train operators will tell you that those rises are necessary.

Investment, innovations, resources, efficiency, improvements. They're always improving. You heard the mantra throughout the New Labour years (when fares kept going up almost as fast as Tony Blair's ego) and you're hearing it now. Except that the trains are still overcrowded, inefficient and extortionate.

What you may not know, however, is that "48p in every £1 goes to Network Rail", and that Network Rail has also just announced that its profits more than doubled over the past year - even though a regulatory review said that that the same Network Rail is "30 to 50% less efficient" than its European rivals.

In any case, if this is all feeling too much on top of your current pay freeze, VAT rise, cuts in child benefits and other 'measures', just be positive and look at it as "investment in policies that promote social mobility". Not my words, but those of guru of progressive politics Nick Clegg.

By the way one of his party's pre-election promises was to "cut commuter fares". Seriously!

[Picture courtesy of Christina Marsh]

Also on the subject:
- Campaign for Better Transport, "Join the fight";
- Welsh Ramblings, "Renationalise the rail".


Acidfairyy said...

The cheapest train from Birmingham to Cardiff is £18, while most journeys, which include a damn change, cost about £35. Piss take.

Stan Moss said...

Wolverhampton to London Euston.
Had to book unexpectedly three days in advance. £43. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Hastings to High Wycombe - 100 miles. £32=good value.

Cardiff 106 miles so sensational value.

Wolves to Euston £43. Amazing about the same pence per mile as Hastings to High Wycombe and a faster journey in a proper train.

claude said...

So it's all good value all round ennit anonymouse. Even if you whack a £90 tag you say good value. You don't explain why though, even if you have to travel half the journey standing up.