The figures show that whilst average weekly earnings have grown 12% over the last six years, rail fares have risen a staggering 25%. The findings of the report by the TUC and Action for Rail come just as the government is set to announce another round of rail fare increase for the coming year.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has called for the renationalisation of the railways, saying that such an exercise will cost nothing thanks to the fact that the government would simply take control of the the rail firms when their franchises ran out. He claims that prices could reduce by up to 10% and that there is support for renationalisation.
“Public ownership of our railways is needed now to fix the transport nightmare we are currently faced with, and we know there is overwhelming support among the British public for a people’s railway.”
The General Secretary of the TUC Frances O’Grady agrees, and commenting on the figures released by the TUC and Action for Rail said:
“Rail passengers are paying more and getting even less. Fares go up while trains remain overcrowded, stations are unstaffed, and rail companies cut the guards who ensure journeys run smoothly and safely. Enough is enough. It’s time for rail services to be publicly owned, saving money for passengers and taxpayers alike. Instead of increasing fares and cutting staff, we should be building an accessible, reliable train service that Britain can be proud of.”
Other union leaders have criticized how the railways are run in the light of the report.
TSSA (Transport Salaried Staffs Association) General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:
“Our rail fares are already the highest in Europe and today’s increases will only make that record worse. It’s time that ministers gave rail passengers a break and actually froze fares in real terms. Fares on the most popular routes have jumped by more than 245% since rail was privatised 20 years ago. Running a publicly owned railway would end this annual mugging of passengers and give us a network run in the interests of passengers and staff.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash agrees:
“The rail privatisation racket is robbing the British people day in and day out. The train companies trouser billions while starving our rail infrastructure of the investment it so desperately needs. With the train companies queuing up to slash jobs and working conditions, at a time of dangerous overcrowding, it is a scandal that they are getting yet another fare hike. Private profit is being placed above rail safety.”
Here at Coach Direct it’s a situation that has seen an influx of new customers deciding to choose coach travel as a more cost effective and reliable solution for business travel than using the railways. From our executive coach services to our luxury chauffeur services, many businesses are pleasantly surprised how cost-effective these work out when compared with the ever rising fares of the UK’s railway companies.
For more information on our range of business travel solutions, call us on 0843 0843 001.