Average train fare has gone up 26% since start of recession: Unions and passenger groups prepare to protest against high prices
01:56 GMT, 11 December 2012
Average train fares have increased almost three times faster than wages, new research revealed today, with prices now 26% higher than they were before the recession.
Unions said the study, published to mark nationwide protests against high fares, showed how commuters and other passengers were suffering “transport poverty”.
Rail unions, passenger groups and other campaigners will lobby travellers at 50 train stations across the UK today, warning that 2013 will see fare rises, ticket office closures, staff cuts and more delays and disruption to services.
Mick Whelan, leader of the train drivers' union Aslef, left, called the fare hike 'painful' while TUC general secretary-designate Frances O'Grady, right, said train fares had massively outstripped inflation
Fare rises will outpace wages and
inflation again in 2013, with the cost of some fares set to soar by 10%,
while pay is forecast to rise by an average of 2.5%, said unions.
TUC general secretary-designate
Frances O'Grady said: 'Train fares have massively outstripped wages and
inflation, even during the recession. Train operating companies seem to
have completely ignored the fact that real-term incomes and living
standards have fallen and have ploughed ahead with eye-watering price
'Average fare increases have risen at nearly three times the rate of average wages since 2008.
'Today's protests should act as an urgent
wake-up call to ministers. Our current privatised system, which is
costing taxpayers a staggering 1.2 billion a year, may be a wonderful
Christmas present for train companies but is a huge squeeze on the
public purse and commuters.'
Unite rail officer Julia Long said the Government are failing to deal with the crisis, which is squeezing household budgets to breaking point
Mick Whelan, leader of the train drivers' union Aslef, said: 'This year's fare hike is all the more painful following George Osborne's announcement of deeper cuts and austerity last week, and threatens to plunge many thousands of passengers yet further into transport poverty.
'At a time of economic uncertainty the Government should be trying to help people get around, not restrict them.'
Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union general secretary Bob Crow said: 'With the West Coast fiasco still playing out, and with savage fare increases only a few weeks away, the campaign for renationalisation of Britain's railways is stepping up a gear.
'We are fighting to reverse the
reductions in jobs and investment and to end the rip-off of
privatisation and halt the tidal wave of cuts in the pipeline under the
Government's McNulty plans.'
Transport Salaried Staffs Association
general secretary Manuel Cortes said: 'Last week's family spending
survey showed that transport is now, for the first time, the biggest
item in families' weekly budgets.
Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union general secretary Bob Crow said the campaign for renationalisation of Britain's railways is stepping up a gear
'This is hardly surprising when you
consider how much rail fares have increased since the recession. The
Government seems determined to make a reality of Philip Hammond's
statement that rail travel is now a rich man's toy.'
Unite national rail officer Julia Long said: 'Thanks to this Government, the new year promises to bring more misery to the country's commuters, as the network's private rail operators think nothing of hiking their fares.
'Once again, millions of ordinary people are being punished by this Government's abject failure to get to grips with a crisis that is squeezing household budgets to breaking point.'
The union leaders will join today's protests, which are being held at stations including Euston, Paddington and King's Cross in London, Leicester, Nottingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Exeter.