Union condemns 10% fare rises

12 August 2008

Passengers are to be hit by fare increases of up to 10%. Above-inflation increases have been standard since privatisation – but the current economic climate will ensure even heftier costs for commuters.

 

Each year Train Operating Companies are permitted to increase fares by RPI (based upon July’s figure) plus 1%. That would cap the increase at 6% for this year. However Southeastern is currently permitted to increase its fares by RPI plus 3% (8% in total) to help pay for the new high-speed commuter service due to open in 2010 on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between Ashford and St Pancras International.

 

This increase can however effectively be an average - meaning that if fares are only increased by 6% on some routes, they can be increased by 10% on others within the average 8% increase.

 

The price increases follow the government’s decision that passengers should pay for more of the cost of the railway rather than relying on the taxpayer – a policy that seems to be completely at odds with the government policy to get more people out of their cars and into trains.

 

General Secretary Keith Norman says, ‘Politicians simply don’t know what to do with this privatised railway. Labour is supposed to be eager to entice people onto trains – yet the government allows massive price increases. The Tories justified selling our industry on the basis that it would provide competition - and they invented a system which allowed none. And both seem reluctant to adopt the approach that passengers, staff and taxpayers want – which is placing it under public control.’

 

Prior to this increase, fares had already increased by 13.6% above inflation since the railways were sold off.

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