In the News
Rail fares by 2.7% - fair for rail users?
The annual raise in rail fares, as people return to work, is always a prompt for plenty of navel gazing regarding the state of the railways and whether or not the rise is 'fair'.
In this instance, the 2.7% rise in fares is less than the current retail price index measure - although that's discredited to some extent - and below the current rate of growth of earnings. So, what's the issue?
Well, customer satisfaction, argue some. But you might also suggest that people do have a limited choice as regards rail travel. There are some alternatives.
And then there's the whole issue of improved services and investment in the sector - if customers want a better service, it's inevitable that they're going to have to pay more for it. And why should anyone else, like the taxpayer, subsidise this? I wouldn't expect someone to subsidise my consumption of craft ale, for instance.
Meanwhile, in Germany, rail fares have been cut by 10%, to encourage more people to travel longer distances by train.
Real terms change in the cost of transport since 1980 (source: DfT): Bus and coach fares +64% Rail fares +63% Motoring -20%