Rail fares rise three times faster than wages

The retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, which is no longer classified as an official statistic, but is still used to calculate rail fare increases and some pay deals, rose by 1pc in July, unchanged from June.


Rail fares which have been rising faster than wages are hitting travellers in the Westcountry disproportionately hard, it has been claimed.

Rail unions are campaigning for train lines to be run by the public sector, which they say will cut prices.

The report calls for train services to be run by the public sector.

“The Conservatives promised in their manifesto that there would be a freeze on rail fares in England for the lifetime of the parliament, but the real cost of rail travel continues to rise”.

“Through our high fares and taxes, passengers and taxpayers are subsidising company profits and shareholder dividends, while services are overcrowded and understaffed”, the group said.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady believes the damage has already been done, and many commuters are already “seriously out of pocket” due to sharp rises in the past.

“This is a fair, more sustainable option and it would allow much bigger savings to be passed on to passengers”.

On the Tube strikes, she said: “The RMT claims to be on the side of customers, but they keep calling wildcat strikes that inconvenience millions of people. Introducing an arbitrary cap on fares is simply passing the bill on to taxpayers”.

Regulated rail fares will rise by 1 per cent next year even though inflation unexpectedly picked up in July, the Department of Transport has revealed. And with the economy growing steadily, for the first time in ten years wage rises are likely to be larger than average fare increases.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We have the most expensive rail fares in Europe and they have risen by over 200per cent on the most popular routes since privatisation 20 years ago”.

“People’s incomes are virtually stagnant, but because the Government insists on using the RPI instead of the CPI, rail fares will go up by about one per cent”.


The news comes as the candidates to be the next leaders of the Labour party debate whether Britain’s railways should be returned into public hands from private companies – a move that some argue could help reduce costs and plan a better service. The move would save someone commuting from York to Leeds four days a week around £400 a year compared to a traditional season ticket.

People wait with their luggage by the departure boards in Waterloo train station in central London