10 Days Remaining

Saturday 6th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

RAIL users in Britain, who already pay the highest fares in Europe, face even more pain from January after another annual price hike was announced yesterday.

Rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group revealed that the average increase will be 2.2 per cent but some will be even higher.

Season tickets holders will pay an extra 2.5 per cent — not only well above the consumer price index inflation figure but also in excess of most annual pay rises.

The increases brought a storm of protest from rail unions and passenger campaign groups, with RMT general secretary Mick Cash warning the “scandal” of Britain’s “rail fares rip off” is that the latest increase far outstrips average pay rises.

TSSA rail union leader Manuel Cortes said: “It is time to stop this annual persecution of passengers with year-on-year hikes in fares.”

He pointed out that fares have jumped a colossal 245 per cent on key routes since privatisation 20 years ago.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “Once more, the most expensive railway in Europe continues to penalise the travelling public at a time when most families are struggling to make ends meet. More people will fall into the travel poverty trap.”

Campaign for Better Transport’s Martin Abrams added: “During this Parliament, many fares have risen three times faster than wages, affecting all those who rely on trains and putting enormous strain on household budgets.”

Shadow rail minister Lilian Greenwood said Prime Minister David Cameron has allowed the cost of some season tickets to rise by over 30 per cent since 2010, which has forced some to pay thousands of pounds more to sit or stand on increasingly overcrowded trains.