3.2 % hike in UK rail fares in 2019 , call for a freeze in fare by commuters and campaigners

 Friday, August 17, 2018 


UK railThe fiasco related to new timetables in the southeast and northwest has turned politically sensitive.



There has been widespread cancellations in the Northern Rail and Govia Thameslink trains and improvements to be introduced in December were postponed.



The disruption was called unacceptable by Chris Grayling,transport secretary, and as per the National Statistics the average weekly wages in June 2018 went up by 1.9 percent in a year. This was barely half the rate of increase in rail fares.



The off-peak return tickets on long distance journeys and ‘anytime’ tickets around major cities will see a rise by 3.2 percent. This will be except for Scotland as here the increase are capped at RPI minus 1 per cent.



For the Bristol- London off-peak return will see an increase by £2.60 and between Birmingham and Newcastle will rise from £115.50 to £119.20, while price of an annual season ticket between Edinburgh and Glasgow will rise £50 to £2,410.



As per the unions the rail fares rose by 40 percent in a decade and between 2004 and 2013 the fares increased more than the RPI.



The Rail Delivery Group mentioned that in real terms the average rail journey has increased by 4.9 per cent. Paul Plummer, the chief executive mentioned that the fares are underpinning a once-in-a generation investment play seeking to improve the railway.  While the season ticket price should be determined by the politicians that should be in sync with the day-to-day costs to facilitate in funding this.




There has been major improvements, upgradation of stations at London Bridge and Liverpool Lime Street to new trains in the southwest and Scotland.



Except for advance tickets which are mostly demand-dependent the RPI figure is used to cap, formally or informally, unregulated fares. Considering this the Virgin Trains’ London-Manchester one-way fare of £169 will rise to £174.



Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner stated that the Rail passengers have endured enough from the failures of the rail network this year. Being asked to pay more again next year will be a bitter pill to swallow and this will hit people hard.



The future increase should be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is typically 1 percent lower than the RPI. As per the transport secretary the CPI should be used for regulated train ticket while the annual pay rise for rail staff should in the same lines as that of the Scottish government.



Mr Grayling,  said that they wanted to make a transition to CPI, but it cannot be done overnight.


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