Analysis points to rail privatisation as key driver of commuting costs

By agency reporter
January 3, 2017

Rail commuters returning to work today (3 January 2017) face fresh fare increases, while spending up to six times as much of their salaries on rail fares as European passengers on publicly owned railways, new research by the Action for Rail campaign has revealed.

UK workers on average salaries will spend 14 per cent of their income on a monthly season ticket from Luton to London (£387), or 11 per cent from Liverpool to Manchester (£292).

By contrast, similar commutes would cost passengers only two per cent of their incomes in France, three per cent in Germany and Italy, and four per cent in Spain.

The analysis also shows that rail fares have increased by 56 per cent since 2006, more than double the change in average earnings (24 per cent) and inflation (26 per cent).

Action for Rail, a campaign by rail unions and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), point to the UK’s privatised rail service as a key driver of costs. All other countries examined have largely publicly-owned rail services and lower costs for commuters.

The findings come as rail campaigners and workers plan to hold protests at over 100 stations around the country against fare rises and in support of public ownership.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: "British commuters are forced to shell out far more on rail fares than others in Europe. Many will look with envy at the cheaper, publicly-owned services on the continent.

"Years of failed privatisation have left us with sky-high ticket prices, overcrowded trains, understaffed services and out-of-date infrastructure. Private train companies are milking the system, and the government is letting them get away with it."

* Action for Rail http://actionforrail.org/

* TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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