THURROCK rail passengers are facing up to higher fares as average prices increases of 2.3% are introduced on the first weekday of the new year (Jan 2nd).
The increase covers regulated fares, including season tickets, and unregulated, such as off-peak tickets.
Campaigners said the rise was a “kick in the teeth” for passengers after months of widespread strike disruption reports the BBC.
The government said it was delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for more than a century.
Even if you allow for inflation, rail fares have gone up by around 25% since the mid-1990s.
Some tickets have spiked by 40% in just a decade.
Why? Because successive governments have been changing the proportion of the rail bill paid for by passengers.
It used to be around 50%. Today it’s around 70%.
It does of course mean that other taxpayers, who do not catch trains (and that’s most people, frankly), are paying less to run them.
Ironically, the original idea behind the government regulating around half of our rail fares was to protect passengers from big price rises imposed by train operators.
Yet it’s often been government ministers who have used the mechanism to put fares up.
Bruce Williamson, of the independent campaign group Railfuture, said: “With the chaos on Southern, lacklustre performance in Scotland and stalled electrification on the Great Western main line, passengers are going to wonder what they are getting for their increased ticket price.”
Lianna Etkind, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Today’s fare rises are another kick in the teeth for long-suffering rail passengers.
“Many experienced a less frequent and more overcrowded service last year, and now they are required to pay more for the same this year.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the government has “always fairly balanced” the cost of modernising the railways between the taxpayer and the passenger.”