Public railways would be better value for commuters, says TUC

By agency reporter
January 3, 2020

Rail fare rises of up to 2.7 per cent cannot be justified when the private rail companies have paid out more than £1.2 billion in dividends to shareholders in the last five years, says the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC says that people who rely on trains to get to work are getting a raw deal. In the decade since 2009, fares for commuters have risen by 46 per cent, but the average weekly wage has only risen by 23 per cent.

TUC analysis finds that some UK commuters spend more than seven times as much on season tickets as their European equivalents.

Someone on an average salary travelling from Chelmsford to London will have to spend 16 per cent of their pay for season tickets (£511 a month). But comparable commutes would cost only two per cent of the average salary in France, and four per cent in Germany and Belgium. In Belgium, employers typically contribute to the cost of the ticket, which in practice would reduce the price further to under £50.

The TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: “Working people have had enough of over-crowded and unreliable services. The number one priority should be running a world-class railway service, not subsidising shareholders. No more excuses - the government must end the failed privatisation and put trains back in public ownership. This would free up money for much-needed upgrades and lower ticket prices for working people.”

The total dividends paid out by franchised train operators in the five years 2013/14 to 2017/18 was £1,213 billion.

* Trades Union Congress


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