Rail fares in the UK have increased by an average of 3.9 percent at the beginning of 2013, as most railway companies announce hikes in their New Year fares.
Previously, East Midlands Trains, a UK-based train service, had announced an increase of around 4 percent in its fares, effective January 2, 2013, with the cost of a single journey to increase by around £0.52 per ticket.
Recent research published by the UK’s Trade Union Congress (TUC), has shown that since 2008, average train fares have increased around three times faster than average wages. This has resulted in the rail fare for an average family of four travelling to London from Swansea, Plymouth, Leeds, Manchester or Newcastle on an any time ticket, costing in excess of £481, which is the average weekly wage for a UK worker.
TUC general secretary and chair of Action for Rail, Frances O’Grady, said, ‘I understand the frustration felt by many commuters going back to work today. At a time when real wages are falling and household budgets are being squeezed, rail travellers are being forced to endure yet another year of inflation-busting fare increases.
As well as having to shell out record amounts of money for their tickets, passengers also face the prospect of travelling on trains with fewer staff and having less access to ticket offices. They are being asked to pay much more for less.’
Defending the fare hike, David Horne, the managing director of East Midlands Trains, said, ‘Railway funding can only come from the taxpayer or from the passenger. The government’s policy remains that a bigger share must come from people who use the train.
We know that nobody likes paying more for their travel, especially to get to work. That’s why we are working hard with the rest of the rail industry to make the system more cost-efficient and help take the pressure off future fare rises. At the same time, we are investing in our trains and stations to deliver a better railway for our customers.’