The Guardian view on rail fare rises: the end of the line | Editorial

The Guardian view on rail fare rises: the end of the line | Editorial
Passengers can no longer carry the extra cost of rail improvements. But an ideological obsession with renationalisation is not the answer

The cost of rail season tickets and other regulated train fares has soared by 25% since 2010, according to the latest rail union-backed lobby group analysis today. In the same period average pay has increased by merely 9%. So Britain’s commuters are likely to feel considerable relief at the announcement that fares will be going up by only 1% next year, especially as earnings have begun to rise faster. The rail minister, Clare Perry, duly went the rounds of media outlets to trumpet an end to inflation-busting increases.

Rail users shouldn’t get carried away with gratitude. Rail fare increases each January are linked nowadays to the previous July’s retail price index (RPI) inflation, which clocked in today at the 1% by which prices will rise in 2016. Elsewhere in the forest, however, ministers were highlighting the wafer-thin 0.1% rise in the government’s preferred and differently calculated consumer prices index (CPI) inflation figure. So commuters are actually going be charged 10 times the headline rate of inflation for their journeys. That’s a funny sort of inflation-busting.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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