Are Train Fares Fair?

There’s always a rise in train fares at this time of year.

Most commuters will have to face the fact that an extra portion of their salaries will be gobbled up fast come their January pay packet.

This year the rise will be just 2.2% which is actually the lowest rise in five years. This would be fine if everybody’s wages had also gone up. Alas, we’re still waiting for those incremental pay rises to catch up.

Which means that while the train companies might be satisfied that they have actually tightened their belts and have lowered their profit margin, we have to wonder whether they’ve really incurred any real financial upset at all compared to the army of commuters whose finances have been severely dented over the past few years by growing costs and stagnant wages.

British rail fares are the most expensive in Europe. This, people argue, is because of the investment to services.

The Rail Delivery Group told The Guardian: “Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27m a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services. That will mean more seats, better stations and improved journeys.”

What’s clear, however, is that the future of rail is dependent on the train users sticking their hands in the pockets ever deeper. It’s a huge cost to bare when you add on rising house prices and the like.

To put it in perspective, between 2010-15, the cost of an annual ticket from Newcastle to Middlesbrough rose 26% to £2,234.

Easy to see how passengers feel persecuted. We need a fairer approach to tickets and fast. Lets hope 2015 brings with it some new hope for us all so that we can spend our extra pennies on investing in our futures and not investing in the futures of the railway bosses.

Here’s hoping.