8 January 2016

New Year fare rises have been roundly condemned by the TUC.

Results of a survey showing the relatively high costs paid by UK commuters were released as a public opinion poll shows a majority of people believe UK train services do not offer value for money.

Analysis by Action for Rail, a campaign by rail unions and the TUC, has revealed that UK commuters spend up to six times as much of their salaries on rail fares as passengers on the continent.

The discrepancy is attributed to the differences between the UK’s privatised approach to rail services, and the public ownership model found on much of continental Europe.

Action for Rail’s comparison of average earnings with monthly season tickets on similar commuter routes across Europe shows that a UK worker on an average salary now spends 13% of his or her monthly wages on a £357.90 monthly season ticket from Chelmsford to London.

Similar journeys on the continent account for just 2% of a worker’s average salary in Italy, 3% in Spain, and 4% in Germany.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll of over 1700 British adults conducted for Action for Rail found almost two-thirds of respondents agreeing that: train services in the UK are bad value for money (61%); fares would be cheaper if train companies were not trying to make a profit (62%); and train operating companies should be publicly owned (62%).

Responding to the findings, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: "It’s hardly surprising that UK passengers think rail travel is bad value for money. They are shelling out far more of their income on rail fares than their counterparts in Europe."