Suffolk/Essex: Unions call for changes to rail funding as fares increase

Rail fares have gone up today. Rail fares have gone up today.

Thursday, January 2, 2014
10:46 AM

On the day that fares increased by an average of 3.1%, the TUC-backed Action for Rail (AfR) campaign has produced new figures showing British commuters pay much more than those on continental Europe.

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Fares for similar-length journeys in Germany, France, Italy and Spain only cost a fraction of those in Britain – and the TUC said passengers would get a better deal of the industry was re-nationalised.

The call comes on the day that the cost of an annual season ticket from Ipswich to London goes up by 2.7% – crossing the £6,000 threshold.

Meanwhile members of the Green Party lobbied travellers using Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds railway stations, urging travellers to support moves to re-nationalise the rail industry.

The Green Party’s group leader on Suffolk County Coucil, Mark Ereira, was at Bury station and said passengers were sympathetic to the call.

He said: “There are some services, like transport and the health service, which are better provided by the state than by private businesses – and I think people are coming to realise that.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Rail passengers and taxpayers are being poorly served by a privatised rail service.

“While the shareholders of the private train operating companies are doing well for themselves on the back of massive public subsidies, passengers are paying the highest share of their wages on rail fares in Europe.

“Rail passengers must wonder why they can’t have the same cheap and more efficiently run state rail services that exist elsewhere in Europe.”

South Suffolk Conservative MP Tim Yeo said it had always been the principle of governments of all sides that in Britain rail passengers should cover as much of the costs of providing the service so those who used the trains were not being too heavily subsidised by taxpayers who did not.

He added: “Since privatisation there has been a significant increase in the number of passengers, so it is not putting off travellers.

“However when fares go up, passengers do expect to see improvements so they feel they are getting something for their extra money.

“That is why East Anglian MPs have been pressing so hard for investment in the line from London to this region – and why that campaign will be continuing in the future.”

As well as season tickets, off peak tickets have also gone up today in the latest round of government-set fare rises.

Another report, this time from the Campaign for Better Transport, said that by 2018 the government will be making “a profit from passengers.”

By then fares revenue will cover 103% of the operating costs of the railways, up from 80% in 2009, said the report by consultants Credo.

It added that by 2018 the Government’s share of funding the railways will have fallen to just 20%, down from 38% in 2009.

3 comments

  • Yeo ho ho !, I've got my 'gravy ticket' !, it wasn't long ago he tried to blame Labour for the 'fragmentation of the Railways' !, what a chancer !!

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    freedomf

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Here is an excellent example of why Tim Yeo should go. He thinks that rail fares are acceptably high because the number of passengers has increased. But really he has no idea what is going on. We have to travel to London for work, we have no choice. Local industries have shut down or taken on migrant labour. The profit that Greater Anglia makes goes into the coffers of its parent, the Dutch state railways. Therefore we are subsidising Dutch rail travellers. It really is time you retired My Yeo.

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    trevorwoolnough

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • What a shame Mr Yeo doesn't live in the real world rather than his fairyland. Rail usage has increased because of an increase in the population, worsening alternatives (overcrowded roads) coupled with overall increase in motoring costs over time and people travelling greater distances for work. This is all DESPITE privatisation of the railways which has cost the taxpayer dearly (up to 4 times BR's costs with much of that going to Contractors and Shareholders). Aren't we lucky in East Anglia to be paying Dutch Railways to run old BR trains to slower times than BR managed. Yes they run them more intensively but only because the taxpayer pays. Its nearly 20 years since Privatisation started, what an appalling waste of money (unless you're a shareholder in on of the |Companies).

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

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