Rail chiefs blasted

Daily Star - - NEWS - by RUTH McKEE [email protected]­

COM­MUTERS got a new year shock as it was re­vealed the cost of rail sea­son tick­ets has rock­eted by £2,000 in a decade.

De­spite the wal­let-bust­ing price hikes, punc­tu­al­ity on the rail­ways has plum­meted to a 13-year low. Of 44 sea­son ticket fares pub­lished by con­sumer group Trans­port Fo­cus, 18 have risen by over £1,000 since 2009.

The in­creases in­clude a sea­son ticket from Swin­don to Lon­don which is £2,168 more ex­pen­sive than a decade ago.

Over­all the price of sea­son tick­ets has jumped 37% in the past 10 years. And a new surge of up to 3.2% could add over £100 to the price of many an­nual tick­ets.

The hikes fol­low an­other year of timetable chaos, strikes and en­gi­neer­ing works.

Cam­paign for Bet­ter Trans­port chief Dar­ren Shirley said: “Rail pas­sen­gers suf­fered atro­cious ser­vice in 2018 and this lat­est fare rise will only add to their mis­ery.

He said the news fol­lows “a year of de­lays, can­cel­la­tions and over­crowd­ing” and “shows a to­tal dis­re­gard for pas­sen­gers and may leave many won­der­ing what they are pay­ing for”.

IMAG­INE if the rail­ways op­er­ated like a nor­mal busi­ness.

Fran­chises would get paid only if they pro­vided an ef­fi­cient and timely ser­vice.

And they would promptly go bust if they con­tin­u­ally raised prices de­spite con­stant de­lays. Sadly this isn’t the case.

The in­dus­try op­er­ates in a dif­fer­ent uni­verse from the rest of us.

Many com­muters get hot un­der the col­lar just think­ing about how our na­tion’s rail in­ef­fi­ciency is re­warded.

This is ex­em­pli­fied by the fact that some sea­son tick­ets have shot up by £2,000 in a decade, de­spite train punc­tu­al­ity be­ing at a 13-year low.

How this is al­lowed to con­tinue with­out ques­tion for so long is beyond be­lief.

The in­dus­try was pri­va­tised to im­prove com­pe­ti­tion and pro­vide value to money. That sim­ply hasn’t hap­pened.

Ur­gent re­forms are needed to bring the in­dus­try in line.

Oth­er­wise or­di­nary com­muters will con­tinue pay­ing through the nose for a sec­ond rate ser­vice.

‘ATRO­CIOUS’: Train com­pa­nies un­der fire

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