We're fighting for cheaper, fairer and simpler rail fares because:
- Fares are too high
- Fares have increased far faster than wages
- Train tickets offer little flexibility
- There are easy ways to reduce fares
Fares are too high
We have the most expensive train fares in Europe. People up and down the UK are being priced off our railways unable to use the train to get to work. Our Government is responsible as it regulates 60% of train fares and these have increased by 25% since 2010. Unregulated train fares can rise even further. Fares keep rising because the Government is cutting its contribution to the railways and making passengers pay more.
Fares have increased far faster than wages
Recent research by the TUC shows that since 2010 train fares have increased by 25% whilst average wages have stagnated and increased by just nine per cent. Now the Government has pledged to hold fares at inflation for the duration of this Parliament, commuters will get some respite from the bad old days of huge annual fare increases. The Government still has a lot of work to do to make our railways affordable for everyone.
Train tickets offer little flexibility
The labour market has changed. With over 8 million people working part time and 1.5 million people working on zero hour contracts there is a greater need than ever for more flexible ticketing. Almost 75% of part time workers are women.
Many part-time workers will ask why they too cannot enjoy the rail ticketing savings that full time workers receive. With almost twice as many men working full time as women, the lack of flexible ticketing options currently available is not only a cost of living issue, but has now become a gender equality issue that must be put right quickly. We want to see flexible ticketing for part time workers rolled out across the whole of the UK rail network.
There are easy ways to reduce fares
The Government currently use an outdated formula to calculate fares increases. At the moment they use the Retail Price Index (RPI) to calculate annual fare increases rather than the more widely used and recognised Consumer Price Index (CPI)
RPI over-estimates real inflation so consistently that the Office of National Statistics has dropped it as an official measure. Government has already switched to CPI for most things. Doing the same for train fares would have little impact on railway revenues, but it would save passengers money and bring fares into line with things like public sector pensions. The Government could and should do this now.
You can read our full list of campaign asks in our Fair Fares Now Charter.