Rail fares increase set to be announced

Norwich Train Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The abused woman left Norwich Station to go to another city to be housed. - Credit: Archant

Rail fares have increased at double the speed of wages since 2010, according to analysis.

Research by the TUC and the Action for Rail union campaign showed that fares have risen by 25pc in the last six years, while average weekly earnings have grown by 12pc.

The findings come as the Government is set to announce another round of regulated rail fare increases for the coming year.

The rise will be linked to July's Retail Price Index measure of inflation, which will be confirmed at 9.30am. June's figure was 1.6pc.

Around half of rail fares are regulated, including season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long distance trips and Anytime tickets around major cities.

As fares for passengers rise, dividends paid to shareholders of private train companies have risen by 21% in the last year to £222 million, said the unions.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Rail passengers are paying more and getting even less.

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'Fares go up while trains remain overcrowded, stations are unstaffed, and rail companies cut the guards who ensure journeys run smoothly and safely.

'It's time for rail services to be publicly owned, saving money for passengers and taxpayers alike.

'Instead of increasing fares and cutting staff, we should be building an accessible, reliable train service that Britain can be proud of.'

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: 'Once more the passengers and taxpayers will wonder why they must pay more for an increasingly poor service.

'When will the Government and the Department for Transport listen to those impacted by daft decisions and what is patently only good for the vested interests?'

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: 'The rail privatisation racket is robbing the British people day in and day out.

'The train companies trouser billions while starving our rail infrastructure of the investment it so desperately needs.

'With the train companies queuing up to slash jobs and working conditions, at a time of dangerous overcrowding, it is a scandal that they are getting yet another fare hike.

'Private profit is being placed above rail safety.'

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: 'Our rail fares are already the highest in Europe and today's increases will only make that record worse.

'It's time that ministers gave rail passengers a break and actually froze fares in real terms.

'Fares on the most popular routes have jumped by more than 245% since rail was privatised 20 years ago.

'Running a publicly owned railway would end this annual mugging of passengers and give us a network run in the interests of passengers and staff.'

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