23 November 2010: It's Government policy to encourage more people to take the train – but, as the Government is well aware, astronomical fare rises will do just the opposite.
We knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any better. It was announced today that Government-regulated train fares will be 5.8% higher in the New Year, and up to 10% more on some routes. Unregulated fares, meanwhile, can rise as high as train companies like. Although ATOC, the train companies' association, has said that on average, regulated and unregulated fares will rise by 6.2%, it is refusing to publish individual fare prices, many of which are likely to increase by a great deal more.
And that’s just this year. January 2012 is set to see even more outrageous increases, as the Government lifts the current cap on fare rises to inflation plus 3%. Many people simply won't be able to afford these prices – as the Government has recently admitted. On their calculations, there will be 4% fewer journeys by rail as a result of the 2012 fare increases. So fare rises aren't exactly going to help achieve the Government's goal of more people making intercity journeys by train then are they? And what are those 4% of people who can't afford to take the train going to be forced to do? Most likely drive, or worse, fly. So, hardly 'green government' then either.
My verdict on the fare rises? Not smart, not fair and not green.
What should you do about it? Fight back. Join our campaign for Fair Fares Now.