Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares

There are alternative ways to pay for investment without penalising passengers

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Richard Hebditch is Campaigns Director for the Campaign for Better Transport

Yesterday’s announcement of a 9.4bn investment in rail is good news but many people won’t benefit as they simply can’t afford rail travel.

cameron-on-a-trainDue to the government’s plans for massive fare rises over the  next two years, the announcement will be redundant to many.

The investment plan, billed as the greatest modernisation of the railway network since the Victorian era, will start in 2014 and include ambitious plans to electrify lines and upgrade stations and tracks.

However, claims by transport minister Justine Greening that passengers must foot the bill now are not justified.

There are good reasons why the government can invest without making passengers pay more.

Firstly, 85 per cent of public spending on rail goes on maintaining and improving the infrastructure. People accept public spending to maintain road infrastructure and the wider benefits of rail investment justify it for our railways.

Support for improved rail infrastructure is what is needed to make up for decades of stop-start investment and for rail to help unlock our cities and enable them to thrive.

 


See also:

Network Rail fat cats to trouser £1.7m in bonuses – as fares skyrocket 11% 3 Jul 2012

Two decades on, Labour consider returning the railways to public ownership 2 Jul 2012

Ken Livingstone: Why isn’t Boris using TfL’s £759m surplus to cut fares? 11 Jun 2012


 

Secondly, public spending is already falling as a share of income for rail. There is no reason to hike fare rises further. In the past, there might just have been a reason for above inflation fare rises when wages were rising at the same level, but now it will price people off trains.

Thirdly, there are alternative ways to pay for this without penalising passengers. Putting fuel duty on flights within Great Britain would raise over £400m a year which could pay for freezing fares and encourage people to use trains for domestic trips.

Finally, it’s not just taxpayers and farepayers that fund railways. A tenth of the industry’s income comes from other sources and there is potential for more private funding available, particularly in.stations or new links.

Last Autumn, the government accepted that their plan to raise  fares by 3% above inflation for 2012 was wrong in tough economic times. As these pressures haven’t lifted, surely there is no good reason why it’s right to hit passengers with steep fare hikes for the next two years.

 


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28 Responses to “Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares”

  1. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares http://t.co/O2xoupzH

  2. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares http://t.co/niDIbiSC

  3. Clive Burgess

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  4. gramsci13

    Left Foot Forward – Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares http://t.co/O2xoupzH

  5. Legal Aware

    Left Foot Forward – Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares http://t.co/O2xoupzH

  6. Anonymous

    Ferraris increasingly an irrelevance to those that can’t afford supercars.

    —-
    Thirdly, there are alternative ways to pay for this without penalising passengers. Putting fuel duty on flights within Great Britain would raise over £400m a year which could pay for freezing fares and encourage people to use trains for domestic trips.
    —-

    Yep, lets tax passengers penally to pay passengers.

    How about taxing rail travellers to pay for rail travel? There is a brilliant mechanism for doing this. Its called a “ticket”.

    The major reason people can’t afford tickets, 50% of their income is going in taxes. 90% marginal rates for the poor.

    That’s why people can’t afford Aston Martin levels of rail travel.

  7. Janet Graham

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  8. Angus Carruthers

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  9. John COYB Syme

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  10. Liza Harding

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  11. Anonymous

    50% in taxes? Nope, of course. You’re making up conspiracy theories. This isn’t a Nordic country. The VAST majority of pay goes on rent, on utilities, on food.

    But you’d need to recognise that raising the price of all three was directly hurting the poor then wouldn’t you, rather than trying to raise the poverty premium by slashing basic services. You’re simply trying to line your own pockets as usual.

  12. Anonymous

    We already very heavily tax air travel, increasing the tax further is probably going to damage British business and tourism – I’d need to see a full cost/benefit study before I could support that.

    How about taking the railways back into public ownership as the TOC’s expire, reintroduce national branding, pricing and rules (peak times, etc.), and cut out a bunch of completely unnecessary costs..and use THAT cash to invest?

  13. Rachael Chrisp

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  14. Mr. Sensible

    Newsbot9, there may be a case for renationalization, possibly. But I’m afraid I disagree with you on aviation taxes; they manage to get off paying both fuel duty and VAT, I gather. That to me is pure and simple tax avoidence. I also think the government should pull the plug on some of the road widening schemes it has committed funding to, since the case for these schemes is, as was previously shown on this blog, at best highly questionable.

    I agree with this article that something should be done about fares to make an improved railway affordable for most people.

  15. Ben Mitchell

    RT @leftfootfwd: Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fares http://t.co/vvgX02eE

  16. JC

    As I read this, you’re saying that we should tax people who don’t use the railways to subsidise those who do. Why just the railways, why no the roads, especially when there’s not a railway that can be used? Why are railways sacred but need subsidising while other forms of transport should be taxed to support them? Perhaps the days of rail are passed and we should be looking for a better way to make use of the infrastructure.

  17. Murray McKirdle

    Rail investment irrelevant to those who can no longer afford rising train fa, writes @FairFaresNow's Sheena Craig: http://t.co/9SnaYhj9

  18. Fair Fares Now

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  19. Manuel Cortes

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  20. Peter Mount

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  21. Warwick

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  22. Richard Hebditch

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  23. christine clifford

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  24. Andrew Gwynne MP

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  25. Stew Mott

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  26. toobygv2

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/WA0ZLOu8

  27. @raileasy

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

  28. CheshireKaz

    Rail investment is good but people must not be priced off rail. Read our @leftfootfwd blog. http://t.co/rllrJZMk

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