Rail fares are due to rise by 2.8% as of January, 2019, hitting not only people’s pockets, but the environment as well.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) protested at key locations yesterday in response to the increase in fares which come at a time of slowing inflation. For example:
Rate of inflation: 3.1%
Rail fare increase of 3.3%
Rate of inflation: 2.48%
Rail fare increase of 2.8%
Rate of inflation in 2019: 1.84% (predicted)
Rail fare increase: a 2.8% rail hike due in 2020
The cost of rail travel is the highest in Europe and it is only getting worse. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has stated that the “cost of train travel had increased by twice as much as wages over the past decade.” Since 2009, wages have grown by 23% whereas the overall cost of train travel has gone up by 46%.
The changes will add more than £100 to many annual season tickets.
There are a few worrying trends in this data. The first is that the rate of inflation over the past years has been sluggish due to uncertainty over Brexit. The second is that prices are exceeding the rise of inflation, therefore putting more people either further out of pocket or else unable to use such methods of transport as stated by Bruce Williamson from campaign group Railfuture that travellers “will either find another job or another form of transport.”
The problem is that other modes of transport are fossil-fuel intensive meaning raising many concerns that greener methods of transport are being unfairly overpriced making them unacceptable for many members of the public.
With many annual tickets touching four figure sums, cars and buses might very well become the next alternative and whilst this could result in an increase in car-sharing schemes, the amount of cars that would be put on Britain’s, adding to the already congested road transport network, is incalculable.