Rail passengers protest around the UK as fare increases expected

If you’re fed up with rising rail fare increases then look away now, we’ve got more bad news for you.

Inflation figures due to be released today are expected to show that retail prices index (RPI) inflation is unchanged at 3.3% in July. Analysts predict that these figures mean that rail passengers will see fare increases of more than 4% at the start of 2014.

Trade unions are up in arms about the potential fare increases and the TUC’s Action for Rail campaign has organised demonstrations at almost 50 stations - including London King’s Cross, Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly.

“Wage-busting fare rises are not even going on much needed service improvements,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told the BBC.

“Instead, passenger and public subsidies are lining the pockets of the shareholders of private rail companies.”

TUC claims that train fares have risen three times faster than wages in the last six years.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign For Better Transport, said: “Getting to work is now the biggest single monthly outgoing for many commuters - more than food, more than housing.

“For the sake of the economy, we should end above-inflation fare increases now and start planning for fare reductions.”

However, transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that “running the railways is an expensive business” and that the government was investing heavily in the transportation network.

“Nobody likes to see rail fares go up. I don’t like to see it and passengers don’t like to see it,” he said.

“We are massively investing in the railways, with £130m being spent here at Nottingham, £800m at Reading and £600m at Birmingham.

“Running the railways is a very expensive business.”

 

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