Rail fares to rise 3.1% despite frequent train delays

Rail fares to rise 3.1% despite frequent train delays

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Rail fares have increased by an average of 3.1% despite punctuality being at a 13-year low.

The cost of many rail season tickets rose by more than £100 due to the annual price hike on Wednesday.

One in seven trains were delayed by at least five minutes in the past 12 months as a series of major issues have plagued the railway - analysis by the Press Association found this was the worst performance since September 2005.

Extreme weather, errors in the launch of new timetables, strikes and signalling failures are among the causes.

The 3.1% average fare rise is the second highest since January 2013.

 

'Profiteering'

Robert Nisbet, regional director of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, acknowledged "nobody wants to pay more for their journey to work" but insisted money from fares is being used to "build the better railway customers want".

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling marked the increase in fares by announcing that a new railcard to extend child fares to 16 and 17 year olds will be available in time for the new academic year in September.

A railcard for 26-30 year olds goes on general sale at noon on Wednesday.

Mr Grayling claimed the Government's "record investment" in the rail network will help passengers get the "frequent, affordable and reliable journeys they deserve".

Labour analysis of more than 180 routes suggests an average commuter is paying £2,980 for their annual season ticket, up £786 from 2010, which was the year the Conservatives came to power as part of a coalition government.

The research also indicates that fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald claimed the latest increases are "an affront to everyone who has had to endure years of chaos on Britain's railways".

Labour has pledged to return the railways to public ownership and called for prices to be frozen on the worst performing routes.

Rail union leaders, politicians and campaigners will protest against the increasing cost of rail travel outside stations across the country.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash said fare payers are being "battered by the toxic combination of gross mismanagement and profiteering".