The UK is facing an increase in train fares, which is expected to be confirmed on Wednesday August 14th. This has prompted reactions from campaigners and unions, who are cautioning against the risk of discouraging passengers frpm using the railway altogether.
The concerns being voiced were especially striking as the fresh increase is expected to be about 2.9% and follows a decade of fares’ rising at double the rate of wages.
The Guardian reported that the fare increase, which is to take effect in January, will most likely add more than £100 to many annual season tickets.
Putting that in historical context means that the overall cost of train travel has gone up by 46% since 2009, while wages have only grown by 23%, according to TUC analysis of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, the data showed.
The increase will be based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July, which caused passenger groups to call for a change in the way ticket prices are calculated, as RPI is no longer a national statistic, according to the BBC.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC General Secretary, was quoted by the Guardian as commenting: “The last thing UK commuters need is another hefty fare increase. We’re already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to travel on overcrowded and understaffed trains.”
O’Grady added: “It’s time to take the railways back into public hands. Every single penny from every single fare should be invested into our railways.“
On the other side of the argument, the government agreed with the sentiment but defended the planned increase. Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “It’s tempting to suggest fares should never rise. However, the truth is that if we stop investing in our railway then we will never see it improve.”