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Rail tickets cost up to SEVEN TIMES as much as journeys in Europe

Britain’s train pain: Rail tickets cost up to SEVEN TIMES as much as similar journeys in Europe (and that’s before the 3.8% price hike due in March)

  • Rail passengers in Britain pay up to seven times more than other Europeans
  • Journey between Prague and Ostrava in Czech Republic just £9.36
  • But similar length journey between London and Manchester is £66.10- seven times more 
  •  Louise Haigh, Labour’s transport spokesman, said the figures showed UK rail passengers were being ripped off

Rail passengers in Britain are paying up to seven times more than other Europeans, according to an analysis of fares.

It found that an off-peak single for the 168-mile service between Prague and Ostrava in the Czech Republic costs just £9.36. However the journey of similar length between London and Manchester is £66.10 – around seven times more.

Passengers in France can buy an off-peak single for the 425-mile journey between Paris and Nice for £52.10. But the fare for London to Inverness, which is 18 miles farther, is £124.

The Labour Party research also revealed that the ten-mile trip from Rotterdam to Delft is £3.36 – £5 less than the 11 miles from Bath to Bristol. The 28 miles from Turin to Asti is only £4.86 off peak, yet the equivalent journey from Leeds to Sheffield is £12.20.

Research found that an off-peak single for the 168-mile service between Prague and Ostrava in the Czech Republic costs just £9.36. However the journey of similar length between London and Manchester is £66.10 – around seven times more

Louise Haigh, Labour’s transport spokesman, said the figures showed UK rail passengers were being ripped off. Pictured: File image of a train

 By Transport Correspondent for the Daily Mail

Train companies paid shareholders up to £38million last year despite being bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of billions amid the pandemic.

Six out of 20 operators said in annual accounts they would pay dividends to shareholders for 2020/21, analysis by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) watchdog shows. 

It is in addition to £15billion ministers put into railways in the pandemic, effectively taking them into public ownership.

The highest dividends identified by the ORR were for CrossCountry (up to £12million), Avanti West Coast (£11million), MTR Crossrail (£7million) and Arriva Rail London (£6million).

 Former rail minister Norman Baker said the payments were ‘not a good look’ at a time when fares are rising.

A spokesman for Avanti West Coast operator First Rail said the payments ‘are the management fees which we are paid by the Government to provide the services which they contract us for’.

A spokesman for Transport for London, which contracts MTR Crossrail and Arriva Rail London, said: ‘Wherever possible, TfL worked with its operators to return savings.’

CrossCountry did not respond to requests for comment.

 

Louise Haigh, Labour’s transport spokesman, said the figures showed UK rail passengers were being ripped off.

She added: ‘With our railways run by so many foreign state-owned companies, UK travellers are helping fund cheaper fares across Europe for a more expensive, privatised service here.

‘Incredibly, the Tories are still planning to clobber passengers with yet another brutal fare hike this spring.’

Ticket prices are due to go up by 3.8 per cent from March 1, the sharpest increase since 2013.

Linked to the retail prices index, the annual rise will see the cost of the typical season ticket go up by nearly £120, to £3,263, at a time when workers are facing higher household and energy bills. The railways on the continent are generally more heavily subsidised, meaning fares can be lower.

But campaigners say cutting fares here could work without more subsidies because higher demand would boost revenues.

Former rail minister Norman Baker, now an adviser at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘Rail fares in this country are too expensive. 

‘They have regularly gone up above inflation over the past 30 years or so, while at the same time we’ve seen fuel duty frozen for motorists and the cutting of air passenger duty for airlines.

‘So the Government has been making carbon-busting forms of transport cheaper and putting up the cost of more environmentally-friendly transport such as trains and buses. 

‘If you cut rail fares, particularly if you did so in a clever way, you would attract more people on to the railways which would actually lead to more income.’

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said: ‘This type of simple analysis often ignores the great cheap deals available in Britain when booking in advance and takes no account of the fact passengers here may have far more frequent trains to choose from and faster journey times.’

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