Train passengers hit with ticket price rises

Ticket prices have risen by 3.4 percent across the United Kingdom, in the biggest raise since last five years, above consumer price index (CPI) inflation rates and above average increases in annual earnings.

Average ticket prices increased by 3.4 per cent across the United Kingdom, with many season tickets rising by 3.6 per cent.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: "The answer to this racket is a full return to public ownership of Britain's railways and an end to this gross profiteering at the fare-payers expense".

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train operators and Network Rail, said 97 per cent of fare revenues went directly into rail services, with major improvements planned.

Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre show salaries fell by 1.6 per cent past year when inflation is taken into account.

Campaigners say fare rises are pricing people off the railways because wages are not increasing at the same rate.

"We understand how passengers feel when rail fares are increased".

Since 2007 the financial burden of running the rail system has increasingly fallen on passengers, after the government decided taxpayers as a whole should pay less via subsidies.

Arriva, which is owned by German state-backed Deutsche Bahn, was responsible for 23pc of rail journeys across the Chiltern Railways, Cross Country, Northern, Wales and Borders, and London Overground franchises.

The 3.4% average hike covers all fare types, with unregulated fares - which account for around 60% of fares - set by the train companies and regulated fares set by the devolved governments using the previous July's Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

She said: 'The current situation is unacceptable.

"Passengers deserve better than this", tweeted shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald.

It claims that two-thirds of delays are caused by Network Rail, which is nationalised, passenger journeys have increased since privatisation every year but one, and passenger satisfaction is high at 83 per cent.

Nationally, commuters are paying nearly £700 more a year for season tickets than when the Tories came to power.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has slammed the New Year increase in rail fares - saying that the town's commuters are 'paying more for less'.

He said: "Pacer trains are outdated, inefficient, uncomfortable and not fit for goal.
"Quite simply they should be scrapped and replaced with the type of rolling stock fare paying passengers from Hartlepool deserve".

"Decisions taken by government ministers are making rail travel unaffordable for the many in favour of huge profits for the few".

Vanessa Coleman