Rail Fares: Annoyed by the latest increases? Here's some stats to make you even madder

Rail fares: How does the UK compare to European countries?

Passengers will have to pay more for their travel

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

If you're one of those people who is mad about the latest rail fares increase, we've got news for you: you're about to get even madder still.

This year has seen the biggest increase in rail fares since 2013, and many have been protesting against the move, pointing out that prices have far outstripped wages.

But when you look at what UK rail passengers pay compared to their European counterparts, the picture gets even more frustrating.

If you live in Germany, you can buy a BahnCard100, a 12-month pass that allows you to travel across its entire network, for an annual fee of just €4,270 (£3,795).

By comparison, a season ticket solely for the route of Peterborough to Kings Cross - a tiny fraction of Britain's overall rail network - will set you back £6,540 - almost 60% more than the German pass.

In France, it's even worse. The Campaign for Better Transport claims you can travel from Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris all year round for £750. This is a journey of roughly 23 miles, the same distance as a trip from Wokingham to London Waterloo - which costs £3,248 if you want to do it all year round.

In Italy there is also a similar 23 mile journey from Velletri to Rome, and that's even cheaper than the French equivalent, with commuters paying just £442 for a year of journey.

Many British commuters prefer paying monthly, and on face value the prices might look quite cheap: a monthly pass for commuters travelling from Chelmsford to London costs just £381, or about £12.50. Cheaper than getting a cab, isn't it?

But if you look at our continental counterparts, it doesn't look like such a good deal. If you live in Belgium, a 30-mile monthly commute will set you back £144. In Spain, it's just £108 - a staggering difference from the UK, even taking into account the sharp disparity in average earnings.

In fact, Britain's rail fares are now so bloated that you can fly across Europe for less than the cost of a decent train journey in Blightly. If you want to fly to Lisbon and back with Ryanair (a journey of more than 1,300 miles), you can get a return for just £49. On Easyjet, a return to Munich (710 miles) will cost you £66. Both figures are dwarfed by the £85.90 it costs to get from London to Warrington, a journey of just 190 miles, one way.

Oh yeah, and that Warrington journey is off-peak. If you want to go in rush hour, you'll need to find £147.

See, told you we'd get you mad.