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13th Aug 2018

Rail fares set to increase by 3.5% next year

Kyle Picknell

It follows the biggest jump in prices in five years in January

Somehow, just when you thought travelling by way of rail in this country couldn’t get more expensive, travelling by way of rail in this country has just got even more expensive.

What’s that, little boy? You want to travel to York, where you go to university, from your hometown, somewhere in the Midlands? Oh, and you want a return ticket as well, do you? Well, let me just make up a figure. Hold on. Yes, yes that will cost you two-hundred-and-fifty actual pounds, please. Oh, is that too much? Is that too much for you, university student? Oh. Oh that’s a shame. Why don’t you just walk then? Why don’t you just walk the 118 actual miles? How about that? How about that, in the rain, with all your bin bags full of rubbish university clothes? Yeah? Wouldn’t be nice, would it? Give us your money. Give us all that ridiculous money, for exactly two train tickets, now, or crawl to York. Right now. £250. Crawl then. See if we care.

The above is an imagined exchange, as you might have been able to tell, but one based on the very real, extortionate cost of modern rail travel in Britain.

An official announcement is expected to be made on Wednesday that will rail prices increase even further next year, by a figure of around 3.5%. The exact percentage increase will be based on the official inflation figures for July after they are published.

Fares increased by the largest amount in five years in January, increasing by a figure of 3.6%.

The news follows a poll from Which? magazine which found that rail firms are the second least-trusted industry in the UK by the public.

Which? also reported that said rail fares have risen by 40% since 2008, which is far higher than in CPI inflation over the same period, which increased by 26%.

Campaigners have demanded the government freeze ticket rates and follow the CPI (Consumer Prices Index) rather than the RPI (Retail Prices Index) the Department of Transportation currently uses to adjust rail fare prices.

According to the Department of Transportation, taxpayers subsidise the rail industry by £4 billion every year.

A spokesperson said: “Any fare increase is unwelcome, but it is not fair to ask people who do not use trains to pay more for those who do.”

Well, as long as we can rely on the exceptional service and reliability of the British rail network then I guess we can’t really complain.

Oh. Oh that’s right. We’re all fucked aren’t we?