Rail passengers in England and Wales have just been hit with a 3.8% rise in fares which, according to the Rail Delivery Group, is the highest rise since 2013 reported the Morning Star newspaper.
This is based on the July 2021 retail price index inflation rate plus 1% and has the effect of increasing the price of an annual season ticket between London and Brighton by £194 and between Manchester and Liverpool by £105.
Reaction to this fares hike from unions has been swift: Manuel Cortes of the TSSA said “It’s almost as though ministers want to force people off our railways and into cars in an effort to speed up our climate crisis”
RMT General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The price of profiteering means instead of having fairer fares taxpayers are paying massive dividends to private rail companies.”
The RMT also points out that research indicates that rail journey costs have risen by four times that of car journeys over the last decade.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said, “It is vital that our rail system recovers the passengers it lost at the start of the pandemic, especially if we want to keep to our climate commitments”.
The campaign group “We own it” has called for the rail companies to be brought back under public ownership and says that doing so could save £1bn per year which is enough to cut rail fares by 18% or build 100 miles of new track.
Solidarity believes that public transport should be run for the benefit of passengers in a safe and affordable way. We say: “Bring back British Rail!”.
Ordinary people are being hit with cost of living rises in so many areas of life just now and to have an increase in transport costs on top of everything else is a going to be a huge blow to the many people who depend on the train to get to work and visit friends and family.
By David Andrews