The first day back at work after the festive break is always a struggle, but commuters travelling by train have been dealt a further blow today. The average season ticket now costs £2,888 – a whopping £694 more than it did in 2010, according to analysis carried out by the Labour party.
On top of this, passengers are faced with delays, cancellations and a greater chance of having to stand. That is because many of the new trains that have been put into service have 25 per cent fewer seats than the ones they were replacing.
Season tickets come under the remit of regulated rail fares, meaning they rise in line with RPI inflation each January. This year the increase was by 3.6 per cent, taking the total amount to 32 per cent since 2010, rising three times as fast as wages and leaving regular travellers feeling the strain.
Disgruntled passengers who do not believe they are getting good value for money have taken to social media to express their frustration. The hashtag #RailFail has been trending on Twitter, where much of the debate has been conducted.
One tweeter, Andy Knight, said: “I wouldn't mind train fares going up if the service provided didn't worsen correspondingly by the same percentage. #RailFail”.
Another user, with the Twitter handle @HelenaSomebody, commented: “Looks like I go to work just so I can afford to pay to go to work #TrainFail #TrainFare @networkrail @NetworkRailLST”.
To add further insult to injury, Brits are paying a lot more than their European counterparts for comparable journeys. A report by the Trades Union Congress found that commuters in the UK are spending up to five times more than passengers in the likes of Greece and Italy.
Protests have been staged at around 40 stations in response to the price hikes, but it seems unlikely that railway companies will backtrack on the move. One alternative for commuters is to travel to work by coach instead.
With a guaranteed seat, no large price increases and convenient drop-off points, it may be worth swapping your rail season ticket for one with Kings Ferry.
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