Rail fares for season tickets, and other regulated fares, have risen nearly three times faster than wages over the last five years, according to new analysis
published by the TUC.
Commissioned alongside the rail unions’ Action for Rail campaign, the analysis shows that between 2010 and 2015 fares increased by 25 per cent, while average pay went up by just nine per cent.
The government has announced plans to cap annual increases in regulated rail fares at the Retail Price Index measure of inflation for this parliament.
However, the public will finance the fare cap through paying their taxes, argues the TUC.
The capping of rail fares will cost taxpayers around £700 million over the next five years, according to department for transport figures.
The TUC argued that far bigger savings could be passed onto passengers if services were run by the public sector.
Research commissioned by Action for Rail shows that £1.5 billion could be saved over the next five years if routes, including the Northern, Transpennine and West Coast Main Line, were returned to the public sector.
The research – carried out by Transport for Quality of Life – estimates that season tickets could be ten per cent cheaper by 2017 if routes coming up for re-tender were run by the public sector.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Rail fares have rocketed over the last five years leaving many commuters seriously out of pocket.
“If ministers really want to help hard-pressed commuters they need to return services to the public sector.
“This is a fair, more sustainable option and it would allow much bigger savings to be passed on to passengers. Introducing an arbitrary cap on fares is simply passing the bill on to taxpayers.
“The government wants the public to subsidise train companies’ profits and bear the cost of the fares cap.”