Ouch! Rail commuters have today been hit by the news that they face an average 4.1% rise in regulated rail fares next year. The rises are necessary according to ministers to pay for investment in the rail network.
Obviously, this news was hit with a big backlash from campaigners who are arguing that rail tickets are becoming increasingly unaffordable as price rises outstrip wages.
In an attempt to explain why these fares need to increase, this morning’s BBC Breakfast gave a really interesting breakdown of where our rail fares are spent. On average, for every £1 spent on a train ticket, costs are spent accordingly:
Track and station maintenance 48p
Train companies’ running costs 17p
Leasing rolling stock 11p
Train fuel 4p
Profit for the train companies 3p
The cost of rail fares in this country never ceases to amaze me and this break down really shocked me, as it shows that the rail companies’ profits are relatively minimal.
What I fail to understand however, is how other countries like France are able to run a faster, more modern rail network without charging the extortionate fares that we face in this country.
Living in Manchester but working in leafy Cheshire means that the train isn’t a viable option for my journey to work but as B2B PR consultancy with clients based throughout the UK, we regularly use the train to visit our clients and like many SMBs certainly feel the pinch after a few trips a to London.
With the Government keen to get us out of our cars and onto public transport, surely the time’s come to address rail costs once and for all or soon no-one will be able to afford to use them.