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Fares petition launched as Transport Secretary’s Jag proves cheaper than the train

13 July 2011
Swapping his Jaguar for a train ticket would nearly double the cost of Transport Secretary Philip Hammond’s daily commute – despite producing four times less carbon emissions – according to campaigners launching a national petition against unfair fares today.  

Fair Fares Now is using the example of the transport secretary’s round trip from his home in Surrey to Westminster to highlight the spiralling cost of rail fares, which are now rising four times faster than wages. As well as the petition, a summer of protests at 40 key commuter stations will see MPs meeting local campaigners and hearing first-hand from passengers in their constituency struggling with transport costs.

With the Government currently reviewing the whole rail fares structure, the petition aims to let ministers know how unpopular and damaging year-on-year fare hikes are. It calls on the Government to reverse its decision to raise fares by 28 per cent over the next four years in favour of more affordable, straightforward tickets that provide good value for money and encourage people to choose the train. Campaigners point out that rail fares, which are linked to inflation, will rise far more than the Government had bargained for due to unexpectedly high inflation rates.

Fair Fares Now is a national campaign from sustainable transport charity Campaign for Better Transport. Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said:

“Ministers have rushed to provide help for motorists to cope with rising fuel prices, but they are hitting train travellers with astronomical fare hikes. This is a deeply unfair blow to rail commuters and others who rely on public transport. Everyone is struggling with rising costs, not just drivers. The Government is reviewing its policy on train fares at the moment and our campaign this summer will show how just how many people oppose their punitive fare hikes.”

People can sign the online petition here.

Notes to Editors

1. Single journeys
A peak time ticket from Woking to London terminals is £9.40. A 27 mile train journey emits 2.3 kg of CO2.
Diesel fuel for the 27 mile journey, given that a 2011 Jaguar XJ saloon with diesel engine gets 35 miles to the gallon, costs £4.95. The Jaguar emits 9.2 kg of CO2 for the same journey.
When running costs such as repairs are taken into account as well as fuel, the journey by Jaguar costs £8.82 – still cheaper than the equivalent peak time train journey.

Annual commuting
If the Woking-London journey were done twice a day for 230 working days per year, the fuel costs would be £2, 277. An annual season train ticket from Woking to London costs £3,268.00

Fuel consumption and carbon emissions data were obtained from the Vehicle Certification Agency. Running costs data were obtained from the AA. Carbon emissions for train travel were obtained from Transport Direct. Ticket prices from National Rail Enquiries.

2. The rising cost of a season ticket from Ashford International to London using the high speed route in absolute terms and in relation to predicted income:
•    2011 - £5,192 or 25.8 per cent of the average salary
•    2012 - £5,612 or 27.3 per cent of the forecast average salary for 2012
•    2015 - £6,665 or 28.6 per cent of the forecast average salary for 2015

Examples of other fares in London and the South East

Examples of fares elsewhere 

3. According to the latest wage and inflation forecasts from The Office for Budget Responsibility, average earnings for 2012 will increase by 2.2 per cent. Regulated rail fares on the other hand will increase by an average of 6 per cent (3 times faster than wages) in Scotland and 8 per cent in England and Wales (4 times faster than wages).

4. 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

5. MPs have tabled early day motion #1577, which calls on the Government to honour its commitment to fair pricing for rail travel, and review its decision to raise fares by 3 per cent above inflation from January 2012.

6. 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).