The annual rail fare increase

By | Category: Travel news
Southern Rail

Southern Rail train at Redhill station. their passengers receive a terrible service

The announcement that rail fares will rise in January by an average of 2.3% will have astounded readers. Who would have thought that rail fares would go up again given that they went up last January and the January before and the January before that and seemingly ever since the Stockton to Darlington railway began!

Regulated fares, ie season tickets will go up by 1.9% so all other fares – the ones we buy for days out and holidays will rise by more. The tourist and holidaymaker are taking the brunt again. Should we band together, say no and rely on cars for our short-breaks and holidays? No commentator this morning that I have seen has mentioned the impact of rail fares on tourist travel; they all concentrate on commuters.

Re-reading the many stories about rail increases I have written over the last seven years, I bored myself with repetition. The same arguments are trotted out by passengers and the train groups. The McNulty Report said that £1 billion of savings could be made. What happened to that?

Scot Rail train

There are grumblings about services on ScotRail too

On the passenger side the argument is that the service doesn’t seem to improve that much; on the train operating company side they argue that more investment is being ploughed in  with about 97p out of every £1 going for investment. They’ve been saying the same things for years. From “experts,” the story is that there was so little investment over the last fifty years that much more needs to be done on the basic rail infrastructure.

Despite the outpourings now, all travellers know that they will just have to live with it. Short of a 100% boycott how do travellers express their annoyance to the government that annual increases are unjustified; that passengers are unhappy with the present system and want it mended?  And that applies especially to ScotRail and Southern where the service has been lamentable.

Why are they comparatively few open access passenger train operations in the UK (Grand Central, Hull Trains are two) it might shake all concerned if every main line franchise agreement had to permit one of these operators to compete.

But, after writing about this annual pain in the neck for seven years, I don’t really expect a change.

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