The government has announced a 3.1% train fares hike from 2nd January 2019, in a move that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has described as “an insult to everyone who has suffered from the chaos on Britain’s railways”.
Prices rise faster than wages
Commuters taking the journey from Aylesbury to London will now be paying £4,188 for their annual season ticket, a rise of £128 this year and over £1,000 more than in 2010! Average fares across the country have risen more than three times faster than wages.
The amount by which train companies can raise regulated fares is the responsibility of the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. He has the power to freeze prices or reduce the increase but he’s choosing not to. Instead he has called on rail staff to accept a pay cap but has made no similar request for the bosses of train companies to take a pay cut or for shareholders to refuse dividends.
Where does the money go?
They say the extra money will go into service improvement. Actually, more than 70% of price hikes and public subsidies find their way into the pockets of shareholders as dividends. And nearly three quarters of Britain’s rail operators are partly or wholly under foreign ownership, so the profits end up going abroad. This includes Chiltern Railways – part of Arriva – part of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn.
Transport for the many not the few
Labour will keep fares down and pegged to no more than a rise of the Consumer Price Index, but we recognise that railways need serious reform. We will take back control of our railways by bringing them into public ownership, so they are run in the interests of passengers, not private profit.
This will be part of an integrated set of transport policies that will include rail electrification and expansion across the country, the re-regulation of bus services to all areas that want them, upgrades to our highways, major road maintenance programmes, and a new National Cycle Network.