Despite promises to the contrary, this year's rail fare rise of an average 2.7 per cent is still linked to the outdated and discredited Retail Price Index (RPI) figure, leaving passengers to dig a bit deeper into their pockets yet again.
With little relief in sight for many from delays, cancellations and overcrowding, it is an inauspicious start to the new year for the railway.
It doesn’t have to be this way though, as our recent report, The Future of Rail, showed. The railways are not beyond repair, but it will take a fundamental overhaul of the way they are currently run. First and foremost the whole fares system needs reforming to provide more affordable fares and better value for money. We need to see speedier implementation of account-based tickets, part-time season tickets, pay as you go travel, multimodal and zonal fares, and an end to the unjustifiable RPI-linked annual increase.
Passengers have listened to the promises, now they want action. The Government must publish its White Paper to reform the railways using the recommendations from the Williams’ Rail Review as soon as possible. We urgently need a railway and a fares system that works for passengers and communities across the country and the Government must not squander the opportunity to deliver one.
Photo: Lou Jasmine / The Unmistakables, Creative Commons