Rail fare increases

rail fare protest

rail fare protest

For over a decade, we have seen the New Year start with rail fare increases, usually double the rate of inflation increases, justified by a claimed improvement in service.

This year saw a 2.5% increase. Over the last five years, rail fares have increased by more than 20%, wages have stagnated or fallen.

Improvements in service? Rail passengers would beg to differ.

Ascot-Aldershot-Guildford line, clapped-out, third-world cattle trucks fit for a scrapyard, filthy, no toilets, passengers put at risk as unable to walk through the train to escape from drunken thugs.

Waterloo-Aldershot-Farnham-Alton line, the train is timed to arrive at Alton, or at least the bus to Winchester timed to leave, at the same time as the train is timed to arrive. Disembarking passengers leave the station to see the bus they wish to catch departing, half an hour wait for the next bus.

1200 Farnborough fast train to Waterloo. Four coaches, overcrowded, standing room only.

Reading to Gatwick and Reading to Redhill line. Toilets are filthy or no water or out of use.

East Coast Mainline is still in public ownership, just. It performs well, but the ConDem government has decided to hand to Richard Branson and Stagecoach But even with the East Coast Mainline there are problems. Get on a train at Kings Cross, before the train departs, a litany is announced of rail passengers who cannot be on the train because they have tickets for a different rail company or on the wrong train. They are requested to leave the train or face penalty fares. Free wifi, all of fifteen minutes.

In the five years the East Coast Mainline has been in the public sector, it has returned almost £1 billion to the taxpayer.

Rail works are the bane of every weekend traveller. Journeys become a nightmare.

Christmas we had the debacle of rail works at Kings Cross. Scheduled to last a day they overran into a second day. Passengers were instructed to go to Finsbury Park. Finsbury Park could not cope, was closed for safety reasons, with passengers queuing for hours outside in the freezing cold. The works should not have overrun (not the first time it had happened) and when it did, there should have been contingency plans in place, local trains terminated at Finsbury Park, main line trains at Peterborough with replacement coach service into London.

This year, they did not not try it on claiming services had improved. Instead, an admission that passengers are being ripped off by ticket machines. Are they going to fix the problem? Er, no, but they will put a sticker on the ticket machines warning passenger they are being ripped off, and advise go to the ticket office. And why do passengers use the tickets machines? It is not as BBC reported convenience. It is because of the long queues at ticket offices.

Monday saw protest at the hike in rail fares and a call for the railways to be nationalised.

If we are serious about tackling climate change restricting temperature rises to below 2C, then we have to have a clean, efficient, reliable, cheap rail service, part of an integrated transport system, train, light rail, Underground and bus.

A privatised rail service, where profit is what matters, has shown it is unable to deliver.

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One Response to “Rail fare increases”

  1. l8in Says:

    Reblogged this on L8in.

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