Rail fares rise twice as fast as wages

Daily Express - - NEWS - By John Ing­ham

RAIL fares have risen twice as fast as wages over the past decade, union bosses re­vealed yesterday.

They spoke out with rail pas­sen­gers fac­ing an­other in­crease of about 2.8 per cent in Jan­uary based on last month’s retail price in­dex, which is due to be an­nounced to­day.

The Cam­paign for Bet­ter Trans­port stepped up its calls for rail fares to be linked to the usu­ally lower con­sumer price in­dex which in June was 1.9 per cent.

The an­nual row about the hike in rail fares comes with Labour and rail unions con­tin­u­ing their calls for the in­dus­try to be re­na­tion­alised.

TUC fig­ures yesterday showed that rail fares have risen by 46 per cent over the past 10 years while nom­i­nal weekly earn­ings have only grown by 23 per cent.

The TUC also said that de­spite months of can­cel­la­tions and de­lays, pri­vate train com­pa­nies paid out £200mil­lion in div­i­dends to share­hold­ers in 2017-18, up 6.5 per cent over the past five years.

TUC Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Frances O’Grady said: “The last thing UK com­muters need is an­other hefty fare in­crease.

“It’s time to take the rail­ways back into pub­lic hands. Ev­ery penny from ev­ery fare should be in­vested into our rail­ways.”

The Cam­paign for Bet­ter Trans­port said the Gov­ern­ment should hon­our for­mer trans­port sec­re­tary Chris Grayling’s ad­mis­sion that RPI is the wrong in­fla­tion rate to base ticket prices on. CfBT chief ex­ec­u­tive Dar­ren Shirley said: “The Gov­ern­ment should com­mit now to Jan­uary’s fares rise be­ing linked to CPI.”

If rail fares do rise by the ex­pected 2.8 per cent it will mean the cost of a sea­son ticket from Brighton to Lon­don ris­ing £125 to £4,581, from Glouces­ter to Birm­ing­ham ris­ing £119 to £4,357 and from Ed­in­burgh to Glas­gow ris­ing £114 to £4,198.

Bruce Wil­liamson, spokesman for cam­paign­ers Rail­fu­ture, warned pas­sen­gers “will just give up and refuse to pay”.

“They will find ei­ther an­other job or an­other form of trans­port,” he added.

Trans­port min­is­ter Chris Heaton-Har­ris said: “It’s tempt­ing to say fares should never rise but the truth is that if we stop in­vest­ing in our rail­way then we’ll never see it im­proved.”

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