ASLEF protests at rail fares

03 January 2017

ASLEF activists were out in force this morning to protest about another savage fare increase for hard-pressed passengers on Britain's railway network now paying up to 14& of their income on getting to work.

AfR Jan 2017Commuters in this country now spend up to six times as much of their salary on rail fares compared with passengers elsewhere in Europe.Commuters into London, for example, pay £387 a month, compared with just £61 in Paris or Rome.

Rail fares have shot up twice as fast as wages in the past ten years - and researchers blame the “failed privatisation” and fragmentation of Britain's railways as the key driver in the race for higher fares and greater profits.

New research by Action for Rail has found that commuters are now paying far more than European passengers who benefit from publicly-owned railways. UK workers on average salaries spend 14% of their income on a monthly season ticket from Luton to London (£387), or 11% from Liverpool to Manchester (£292). In contrast,similar commutes cost passengers only 2% of their incomes in France, 3%in Germany and Italy, and 4% in Spain.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, 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‘Years of failed privatisation have left us with sky-high ticket prices, over crowded trains, understaffed services and out-of-date infrastructure. Private train companies are milking the system, and the government is letting them away with it.’

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, who was at King's Cross first thing this morning, with Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald, talking to passengers fed up with paying more not for a better service, but to swell the profits of the private train companies, said: ‘It is scandalous that the government is allowing the privatised train companies to make even more money for providing an ever poorer service.

‘This new price hike –well above the rate of inflation – is indefensible and designed to punish passengers. Fares have now soared 25% in the last six years.

AfR doncaster jan 2017‘The train companies see passengers as sheep to be fleeced but it is shameful that the government is going along with them. No wonder so many commuters, many of them Tory voters,are now saying they’ve had enough.

‘Just look at Southern – a company which MPs say lets down passengers every day of the year – yet wants to be rewarded even more handsomely for its failure to deliver on the pledges it made when it was awarded its franchise by the DfT.

‘We have the most expensive railway in Europe and the train companies, aided and abetted by this Conservative government, are about to make it even harder for people to travel at a time when so many families are only just about managing.’

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