Text Size

Current Size: 100%

UK rail commuters pay three and a half times more than European commuters

30 December 2011
As commuters brace themselves for steep rail fares rises next week, Campaign for Better Transport has discovered some UK commuters are paying three and a half times more for their season ticket than their European neighbours.

Campaign for Better Transport compared the cost of an annual season ticket into five major European capitals. Despite the Government’s concession in the Autumn Spending review to cap regulated fare increases to inflation plus one per cent in January, instead of inflation plus three per cent as originally planned, the transport charity discovered the sample UK ticket cost three and a half times more than the most expensive European one, and almost ten times (9.7) more than the cheapest one. 

The cost of an annual season ticket, including multi-modal travel on each city's underground system, from a commuter town approximately 23 miles from the capital: 

Woking to London, £3,268
Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris, £924.66
Strausberg to Berlin, £705.85
Collado-Villalba to Madrid, £653.74
Velletri to Rome, £336.17

Sophie Allain, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said:
“We knew we had some of the most expensive rail fares in Europe, if not the world, but even we were shocked by how much more the UK ticket was in comparison to our European counterparts.
"When the cost of season tickets is so much higher than other European capitals, the Government’s fare rises are starting to affect the UK’s competitiveness. That’s why if the Government is serious about promoting economic growth it must also look at reducing planned fare rises in 2013 and 2014 as part of a policy to cut fares and make public transport truly affordable.”

Campaign for Better Transport is taking part in a day of commuter action on January 3 when people will be tweeting, texting or calling George Osbourne to show their anger at fare rises. To take part go to www.farefail.org

Notes to Editors

1. Woking to London (22 miles)
An annual season ticket from Woking to London zones 1-6 is £3,268 (€3928,14) http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris (24 miles)
Ballancourt is served by the RER (Regional Express Network) and lies in zone 5of the D4 branch line. An annual ticket for unlimited travel within zones 1-5 is £924.66 (€1112,50)

Strausberg to Berlin (21 miles)
Strausberg is on the S5 line of the Berlin S-Bahn in zone C. An annual ticket includes travel within zones A,B and C and is £705.85 (€848) http://www.s-bahn-berlin.de/aboundtickets/zeitkarten.htm

Collado-Villalba to Madrid (22 miles)
Ceranias is the commuter network and Villalba is the last stop on the C-10 line in zone B3. A multi modal annual pass for zone B3 is £653.74 (€785,40)

Velletri to Rome (22 miles)
Velletri is in Zone C on the suburban train network line FR4. An annual pass for unlimited travel in three zones (A-C) is £336.17 (€404) cash or £357.73 (€430,20) in installments http://www.cotralspa.it/ENG/biglietti_abbonamenti_4.asp

All ticket prices are for current tickets at time of publication. Exchange rate correct at time of publication. Distances calculated using http://distancecalculator.globefeed.com

2. Examples of fares into London from other parts of the South East. Examples of fares elsewhere.

3. Campaign for Better Transport launched the Fair Fares Now campaign in January to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail ticketing. Visit the website for more information www.fairfaresnow.org.uk

4. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).