Anger as train fares rise at double inflation rate
14 August 2012
There has been outrage over announced train fare rises, which in some cases are planned to increase by over twice the rate of inflation from next January.
The cost of many tickets is expected to rise by around 5-6%, 3% more than the anticipated Retail Price Index measure of inflation, leading to criticism from campaign groups and unions alike. Rail firms will even be allowed to raise some fares by a greater amount than this, as long as it is balanced out with reduced prices elsewhere, leading to a situation where commuters on some routes could see cost hikes of up to 11%.
Pressure is now on the government to back down from their decision regarding the rises train companies could impose. The coalition has sought to reduce the burden on taxpayers and cut the deficit by reducing rail subsidies and allowing additional costs to be imposed on passengers instead, but some see it as a step too far. Passenger pressure groups have warned that train fares are increasing at three times the rate of the average salary.
Today sees protests at Waterloo and at various other stations around the country organised by campaign group Action for Rail, targeting the increases in fare prices and the cuts to services and staff which are recently being made.
Frances O'Grady, the deputy general secretary of the TUC – which supports the Action for Rail campaign – complained that “Passengers are being asked to pay more to get less. We want cuts to rail fares, not rail staff.”
Justine Greening, Transport Secretary, hinted that the criticism being levelled at the government could lead to a change of policy, claiming “I am keen to see what we can do to keep rail fares down to something affordable. I shall be looking at whether there is a way of doing that in the autumn but we have to stick with our deficit-reduction policy.”