5 January 2018

Commuters in the UK are spending far more of their earnings on rail fares than those in other European countries the TUC has claimed.

Responding to the latest round of fare increases, it argues that UK commuters are putting up to five times as much of their salary into funding season tickets as passengers on the continent.

According to the TUC’s analysis, a passenger on an average salary travelling from Chelmsford to London will have to pay £381 a month for a season ticket — equivalent to 13% of their wages.

In France, a comparable commute would cost just 2% of the average salary, while in Italy it would be 3%, in Germany 4%, and in both Belgium and Spain 5%.

The TUC also points out that wages in the UK are set to grow by 2.6% in 2018, while the recently announced New Year price rises see the average season ticket go up by 3.6% and the average rail fare increase by 3.4%.

Although employers can help out by offering zero-interest season ticket loans, or offering more flexible work hours and locations, the ultimate solution is for the Government to take the railways back into public hands, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.

Her remarks were echoed by the General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA).

“Every year UK passengers are forced to pay more to Holland, Germany, France and Italy — all of whom currently own our train operating companies,” Manuel Cortes pointed out.