Rail fare increase: commuters paying price for privatisation, say rail unions.
Today’s (Saturday) rail fare increases are a consequence of rail privatisation, says Action for Rail – a campaign by rail unions and the TUC.
The one per cent increase today to season tickets and other regulated fares will mean that the cost to commuters has risen by 25 per cent over the last five years.
The government has announced plans to cap annual increases in regulated rail fares at the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation for this parliament. However, the public will finance the fare cap through paying their taxes. The capping of rail fares will cost taxpayers around £700 million over the next five years, according to Department for Transport figures.
The TUC says that far bigger savings could be passed onto passengers if services were run by the public sector. Research commissioned by Action for Rail shows that £1.5bn could be saved over the next five years if the routes up for renewal were returned to the public sector.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“People across the UK have once again been hit by a rise in rail fares. This year’s increase shows how privatisation means higher fares for commuters while private train companies continue to rake in the cash.“
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Profiteering and exploitation on Britain's creaking rail network is a national scandal. Passengers are left paying through the nose to travel on unreliable and overcrowded services. Meanwhile, vast profits are being bled from our railways with huge amounts siphoned off by European state rail companies to subsidise their own domestic rail operations. It's about time we had a British state rail operation run in our interests. “