Thursday, 2 January 2014

End the great rail rip-off

Another fares hike, another round of fat profits for Britain's private train companies. I have pointed out before that the state is still running trains when these outfits fail to deliver the goods (no freight pun intended) - and hinted that corporate kickbacks are the only reason that such companies exist. From The Economic Voice -

"As analysis now shows that rail commuters are paying higher fares than those using comparable routes elsewhere in Europe as well as a Which? report showing trust in rail is low, both the TUC and the Green Party are arguing that the UK rail system needs to be re-nationalised. As many people prepare for their first day back to work after the Christmas break, rail campaigners are today (Thursday) warning that British commuters could be spending over three times more of their salary on rail travel than passengers on publicly-owned railways in France, Germany, Spain and Italy....regulated rail fares will rise between 3.1 and 5.1 per cent from today – more than four times faster than average wage increases."

A regulated rail fare means most tickets, the prices of which are set by government - which also gives these avaricious train firms subsidies out of taxation so that they can pay their dues to Network Rail and still make a handsome profit. In fact government pays around 32% of the total railways bill. And companies have been jacking their fares up waaaaay past the rate of inflation since privatisation. Here are a few figures from last October -

Virgin 210%
First Great Western 210%
East Coast Mainline 200%
East Midlands 155%
Greater Anglia 150%
Gatwick Express 125%
Southeastern 100%
South West Trains 90%
Southern 85%
Thameslink 75%

In the end corporate greed and the corruption of the authorities could be the train companies' downfall, as more people take to the road instead of forking out an ever-growing proportion of disposable income on rail fares.


  1. I dunno.

    You can't really fault railway companies for setting the price as high as they can to maximise revenues - once a train service is full, it is full, cutting prices just means more overcrowding.

    OTOH, railways are inherently a monopoly, so all things being equal it is better for "the government" (on behalf of all taxpayers) to try and collect the monopoly profits (by whatever means) than to allow the corporatists to get their hands on them. Clearly, taking taxpayers' money and giving it to private railway companies just doubles up the whole fraud.

    1. There has been talk of the government giving train companies money to convert first class seating to second class. It might to more passengers but the fares sure won't go down!


Keep it clean.....