Railing against the train fare rises

David Cameron has given false hope to millions of motorists by resurrecting the idea of a fuel stabiliser - despite the OBR rubbishing the idea in September.

Richard Hebditch,  campiagns director of the Campaign for Better Transport on the launch of their Fair Fares Now campaign, which calls for cheaper, simpler and fairer train tickets

David Cameron has given false hope to millions of motorists in today’s Daily Mail by resurrecting the idea of a fuel stabiliser to cut fuel tax when oil prices soar, despite the Office for Budget Responsibility effectively rubbishing the idea back in September.

Their report found that a £10 a barrel higher oil price would boost UK oil and gas revenues by £2.4 billion, but once effects are offset elsewhere on the public finances, it would reduce the benefit to almost zero for a temporary rise in oil prices.

The OBR agreed with the Campaign for Better Transport that a fuel stabiliser doesn’t work; higher prices don’t really mean higher revenue for government so they’d have to find the money from elsewhere, which seems unlikely in the current financial climate.

Whilst no one wants to pay more for something they rely on, fuel prices need to be put into perspective. Since 1997 the overall cost of motoring has fallen 14 per cent below inflation whilst rail fares have risen 13 per cent. So it’s not surprising that many assume the government’s decision to drive rail fares even higher this week  – increases of up to 12.8 per cent for some season tickets – is a deliberate effort to price people off the trains and onto the roads.

That isn’t good for motorists, who’ll have more traffic jams to deal with, and it’s certainly not good for rail passengers.

12 Responses to “Railing against the train fare rises”

  1. Richard Hebditch

    RT @leftfootfwd: Railing against the train fares rises: //bit.ly/eWWhla

  2. The Dragon Fairy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Railing against the train fare rises: //bit.ly/eWWhla

  3. Frank roper

    Railing against the train fare rises //bit.ly/gsgE6n #ukuncut

  4. Watching You

    As I foretold last May – We would all be back on the roads again RT @leftfootfwd: Railing against the train fare rises //bit.ly/gsgE6n

  5. ross reid

    RT @leftfootfwd: Railing against the train fare rises: //bit.ly/eWWhla

  6. L DTUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: Railing against the train fare rises: //bit.ly/eWWhla

  7. nicole val

    RT @leftfootfwd: Railing against the train fare rises: //bit.ly/eWWhla

  8. Stephen W

    “is a deliberate effort to price people off the trains and onto the roads.”

    And why in God’s name would anyone actually want to do that?

  9. Mr. Sensible

    Alice, to me this looks like an undermining of the pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever.’

    This isn’t good from the point of view of either congestion or the environment.

    I think both the previous government and this government are wrong to expect passengers to pay more towards the costs of our rail network.

  10. Éoin Clarke

    Forgive my ignorance, but could someone explain to me how it is the case that the cost of motoring has fallen 14% over the said period? Are we factoring the cost of the vechile into that?

  11. The prole

    Totally ridiculous article.

    I’ve read the link which claims there has been a 14% drop in the cost of motoring.
    Here is what it actually says…

    “The real cost of running a car (the cost of motoring excluding the purchase of a vehicle) increased by almost a quarter between 1997 and 2009 whereas the real cost of vehicle purchase has halved over the same period.”

    The cost of motoring is only seen to drop when you include the cost of new cars.
    In other words, the cost of motoring for the poor (who don’t buy new cars) has increased by 25%, while the cost of motoring for the rich (who do), has decreased by 14%. (The cost of usable old bangers has stayed fairly static at between £500-£1000 for most of the last 15 years)
    Nice. It’s good to see progressive policies from Labour governments isn’t it.

    These figures are also misleading, as the report only has figures from 2009 or in some cases 2008. The price of fuel increased (from memory) by around 30% from the end of 2009 to the end of 2010.

    As for the train price increases, this is because we don’t have enough rail capacity, and much of the network is more or less at capacity. This is because we have made railways too expensive to built and maintain by regulatory burden, particularly an obsession with avoiding any rail deaths without regard to cost, and ever more pandering to the disability lobby groups (we could get around a 1/3 more passengers on Virgin’s high speed trains if we replaced the disabled toilets which are fitted in almost every carriage with ones the size they were in HST sets, and more passenger seats).

  12. mr. Sensile

    ‘the Prole’ I suppose that increasing prices is 1 way of managing overcrouding and capacity…

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