Today has seen the tenth year in succession of above inflation fare rises for hard-pressed rail users. It has been particularly tough for people who have to commute to London. The UK now has the highest rail fares in Europe. It is possible that mile for mile the St Albans-London route is the most expensive commute in Britain.
So I agree with the Campaign for Better Transport that it is high time that above-inflation rises were ended. We have a railway which post-privatisation is structured in a way which increases cost overheads. These ultimately have to be paid for either through our taxes or through the fare box. Drive these costs out of the system and we wouldn’t need this annual infliction of pain.
The government-sponsored McNulty Review showed that significant costs can be taken out of the industry and overheads reduced. We need to see action and then the savings being passed on to the traveller.
St Albans users of FCC’s Thameslink ’service’ – a contradiction in terms if ever there was one – must have a particularly bitter taste in their mouths, since the operation is only regular in its irregularity. People paying thousands of pounds a year deserve reliability. It’s time to get our rail services back on track and at a reduced budget.
Lets hope the government is listening.