Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent

Sophie Allain reveals the shocking disparity between British fares and those in the continent.

 

Sophie Allain is the Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner.

We knew we had some of the most expensive rail fares in Europe, if not the world, but even we were shocked when we compared a sample UK season ticket with four similar European ones. Our UK ticket cost three and a half times more than the most expensive European one and almost ten times (9.7) more than the cheapest one we looked at.

It is not surprising that British passengers are fed up with being ripped off. A national passenger protest is happening today, the first business day after the New Year.

People are heading back to work and ticket offices, train carriages and social networking sites are buzzing with the voices of irate passengers. You can join in by tweeting, texting or calling George Osborne to show your anger at fare rises. All the details can be found at www.farefail.org or by following @fairfaresnow on twitter.

Our rail tickets are eye-wateringly expensive. Our European comparisons highlight just how expensive commuting by rail has become. We compared the cost of commuting using a multi-modal season annual ticket into five European capital cities from a commuter town approximately 23 miles from the capital:

• Woking to London, £3,268

• Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris, £924.66

• Strausberg to Berlin, £705.85

• Collado-Villalba to Madrid, £653.74

• Velletri to Rome, £336.17

The bad news is it’s set to get worse. The government is still planning to press ahead with inflation plus three per cent increases in January 2013 and January 2014, meaning fares will be 24 per cent higher by the next election.

When the cost of season tickets is so much higher than other European capitals, the government’s fare rises are starting to affect the UK’s competitiveness. That’s why if the government is serious about promoting economic growth it must also look at reducing planned fare rises in 2013 and 2014 as part of a policy to cut fares and make public transport truly affordable.

See also:

Serious concerns over transport commissioning – how will Greening respond?Matt Dykes, December 16th 2011

Our outdated transport system is running on emptyRichard Dyer, November 17th 2011

Scotland needs to get its transport infrastructure in orderKen Macintosh MSP, October 27th 2011

Boris fiddles as London prepares for transport chaosAlex Hern, October 19th 2011

Boris’s transport boasts are pure piffleRob Jenks, March 31st 2011

38 Responses to “Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent”

  1. Anonymous

    1. Massive prices.
    2. Massive subsidies.

    With both in place, the question is pretty clear. Rail companies can’t run things. Government’s can’t run things.

    Lets spell it out. Massive subsidies for rail transport should mean cheap prices. It doesn’t.

    1. Pay is too high
    2. Pensions are too generous.
    3. Cost of maintenance for the track is too high
    4. Stupid projects such as Cross rail are undertaken.
    5. Stupid projects such as HS2 are considered.

    [They are stupid because a 2 minute calculation of the cost of servicing the debt, divided by the number of passengers comes up with a price that the ticket buyer’s wouldn’t tolerate]

    Solution. No subsidy. No regulation bar that of safety. No guarantees for pensions. The government gets out of the business completely.

  2. Anonymous

    If you want to see an example of transport and the right, look at Boris.

    140 million on 5,000 bicycles.

    140,000,000 / 5,000 = 28,000 (per bike)

  3. Anonymous

    You want to see the real cause of high fares? http://bit.ly/tiQ6T9

  4. Monika Schwartz

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent, writes Sophie Allain: http://t.co/xcwXEZvJ

  5. Ust Oldfield

    More expensive and worse service. What wouldn't I do to live on the continent?! http://t.co/nmRrYkaZ #farefail

  6. Samuel Tarry

    More expensive and worse service. What wouldn't I do to live on the continent?! http://t.co/nmRrYkaZ #farefail

  7. Political Planet

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent: Sophie Allain reveals the shocking disparity… http://t.co/xVO8APgD

  8. michael emonds

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/ojGNTTAW

  9. Michael

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent – http://t.co/pvnQzAgJ

  10. Max

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent – http://t.co/pvnQzAgJ

  11. Tom

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent, writes Sophie Allain: http://t.co/xcwXEZvJ

  12. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/p9wIdwuM

  13. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/z4QkbELA

  14. Selohesra

    Like most I dont like the increase – my annual ticket now > £3K but what is alternative – reduce pay/perks for comrade Crow and his boys? or perhaps close some hospitals? We need positive suggestions rather than whinging at every turn – Brown nearly bankrupted the country now we all have to suffer

  15. David Sketchley

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent, writes Sophie Allain: http://t.co/xcwXEZvJ

  16. David

    Mutualisation of the railways is the best way forward. Put passengers in control, turn railways into not-for-profits that reinvest in the railways and help keep fares low.

    http://peoplesrail.org.uk/

  17. Simon

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/o4M5XqxF

  18. Roblackenby

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent, writes Sophie Allain: http://t.co/xcwXEZvJ

  19. Feral Elite

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent, writes Sophie Allain: http://t.co/xcwXEZvJ

  20. Robbie Court

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/Fy48I74g

  21. H. O.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/0DFlGfBT

  22. Fair Fares Now

    Read this @leftfootfwd blog on rip-off Britain's train fare rises and take action #farefail http://t.co/iuguREZj http://t.co/3oqWhJr8

  23. Blarg1987

    Well most of the contenent is state run and they do a reasonable job, granted the old state rail system wasn;t perfect, however it would be hard to say they did not do a very good job witht he few resources available, granted no system is perfect just like the NHS yet we all expect something to be perfect but not pay for it. Either way there has been large amounts if investment in the rail network which is being reduced so the shortfall has to be made up with higher ticket prices now it would be interesting if it was non for profit how much reduced would the costs for all these projects be?

  24. Nick Leaton

    Take a well run example – Switzerland.

    Cost of a GA (General Abonnoment) 2350 CHF for a couple. Covers all of Switzerland, bar one or two mountain railways.

    800 quid at current rates per person.

    Salaries higher than the UK. Runs on Time (almost). Clean. Efficient.

    UK charges commuters 3,000 in lots of cases per person. Nearly 4 times more.

    In other words the commuters and the tax payers who are mugged for others to use the service are paying for a Rolls Royce service, but getting a clap out Moris Minor for their money.

    Take one, Cross Rail. 200,000 passengers a day top end, 16 bn cost (Olympic estimate). Debt costs per day of 3 million a day. So just to cover debts, the ticket price needs to be 15 quid. More for running costs.

    Will 200,000 passengers fork out 4-5 grand a year to use it?

    They won’t. So someone else will pay the price.

  25. Jon Pinkney

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/areDWks3

  26. brummie_Red

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/areDWks3

  27. Newsbot9

    Salaries are NOT the issue.

    And no, your banker buddies did that. You lie and lie to try and deflect attention from your 1%. Anything but reason and logic, anything but the cause paying the cost. THAT would hurt your ability to maintain your third house, after all!

  28. Newsbot9

    Oh yes, gotta have trains crashing and burning because underpaid, overworked people are dribing then. Gotta have unsafe rails.

    Crossrail and HS2 are self-evidently idiotic, but your other whines are just that. Gotta sacrifice safety, after all. You have a Limo, what’s it to you.

    And hey, right, it’s not like people being able to get work is important for the economy.

  29. Michael Lee Rawlings

    Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent: What wouldn't I do to live on the continent?… http://t.co/QuMmwOTE

  30. Selohesra

    I only have two houses actually – are you by any chance related to Leon wolfson who used to post here? – he always seemed very angry too

  31. Jodi Bailey

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/zPHQe0MU

  32. Dapper Dan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/nhID8OwO

  33. Trich Deeney

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/nhID8OwO

  34. cinnamon_carter

    RT @yagbebi Rip-off Britain: Our train fares are triple those on the continent http://t.co/NqnjQthr

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  38. Stoprisk

    We can just ask FS from Italy to run the railway.
    The point is, HOW can we compete in the world
    with SUCH a corrupt government ?
    Railways stop risk on the roads.
    Trains are GREAT for the economy.

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