19 Days Remaining

Saturday 29th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

FRESH calls to renationalise Britain’s railways were made yesterday as a new study revealed fares are set to “rocket” next year.

Rail union RMT published a prediction of next year’s train fares, which will rise in line with August’s Retail Prices Index inflation forecasted at between 3 and 4 per cent.

The union calculated how much ticket prices on key routes would rise with a 3.5 per cent increase.

It found that already extortionate fares on London to Brighton routes would ramp up by £134 to almost £4,000.

RMT pointed out that the soaring fares in Britain are subsidising those on state-run railways in France, Italy and The Netherlands.

The union accused European owners of Britain’s rail services of “robbing” passengers to keep prices down at home.

More than 60 per cent of privateer rail operators in Britain are subsidiaries of state-owned rail companies abroad.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “As inflation is running high, it will be yet more grim news for workers struggling to make ends meet.

“To add insult to injury, passengers travelling on lines in the UK operated by Italian, German and Dutch state railways, could be paying around two-and-a-half times more than their counterparts on comparable journeys on the continent run by the same operator.”

He said it was a “national scandal” that the government lets foreign state-owned firms operate Britain’s railways — while forbidding British public ownership.

Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer, representing private operators, said: “The RMT isn’t comparing like with like, our trains are often more frequent and with better journey times than in other countries.”