'The worst aspect of privatisation': readers on rail fare increases

'The worst aspect of privatisation': readers on rail fare increases

We’ve been following your reaction to an announcement UK rail fares will rise by an average of 3.4% in January

Rail operators have defended fare rises by saying an average 3.4% increase – the largest for five years – shows the industry was attempting to keep down the cost of travel.

Related: Train fares: UK rail passengers face biggest rise for five years

The government sets the maximum increase allowed. Rail companies don’t have to apply them at all. But they do, because they’re greedy.

As a rail passenger, I see no improvements worth inflation busting fair increases. My train station is incredibly busy but only has two ticket machines; which are regularly broken. God forbid if you’re disabled or have luggage because there’s no ramp or lift to get to one of two platforms. Train operating companies get huge subsidies. They’re rolling in it.

It’s an absolute disgrace. I’ll still have to make my daily commute from Gravesend into London, but a price increase fuels my anger and general hatred towards the rail companies. It would be bearable if they could turn around and say “look, the service is getting better in this and such ways”. But it’s not. You only need to travel on another European train service to see how these countries and the so-called MPs that represent us and regulate them are shafting us.

But thanks to the wonders of the free market I can use the power of my wallet and get another train to the same location! Oh wait … I can’t. The rail services operate essentially on regional monopolies. I can pay loads to get the train, or not get to work at all. The good ol’ free market, rife with commercial competition.

If you have been affected by UK rail fares rising you can tell us how using our encrypted form here. We will feature some of your contributions in our reporting.

It simply should never be cheaper to drive! All this noise about pollution and cars and yet it’s prohibitive to travel by train – three people from Bath to London for a morning meeting at nearly £600. It’s crazy. Quickest way to alleviate congestion and pollution is a no brainer – make it cheap to take the bus or train. Money would be saved all over the place and it would be better for the environment as well as getting the economy moving.
Stuart Knight

The railways are the worst of all aspects of privatisation without any of the supposed benefits. The problem has always been there isn’t any real competition in the industry, you can shop around for your utility company but you can’t pick and choose which train you’ll use for your commute. It’s a nationalised network on which private companies operate, so basically we pay for the infrastructure and their profits, it’s the worst lose-lose model for the taxpayer imaginable.

If Corbyn ever gets in and does no more than renationalise the railways he’d have done a great job.

My daughter works on an 8 hour contract, often getting only a few hours work at a time. Regularly she gets given a 4 hour shift starting at 8am. She earns less than £40 for this shift and has to pay £11.50 train fare as at peak hours, she cannot use her young person’s railcard.

This journey that costs £11.50 only takes 22 minutes – the DWP expect people to take any job within 90 minutes travel time or lose all unemployment support. Getting no wages at all by the time she has paid the train fare is not a consideration. Rent? Food? No, sorry – you are not entitled to have money for these things.

Next week I’m bringing my wife to the UK for the first time, for a month long trip before leaving for Europe. We plan to visit my family in Manchester, old friends in York and Bristol and maybe spend a few days in Scotland and Wales, time and weather permitting.

As soon as I booked the flight I started looking on Autotrader for a cheap used runabout, which will cost about £1k once I factor in tax and insurance. My wife thought I was being daft. She asked me why I wanted to spend so much when we could just take the train everywhere. And I laughed and laughed and laughed.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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