Rail fares have risen by 12% since privatisation
Britain Has Worlds Highest Rail Prices - Survey
Rail passengers in Britain are paying the highest ticket prices in the world according to a study carried out by the Union Bank of Switzerland. The survey suggests that the cost of UK train travel is almost three times the world average.
UBS survey suggests that the cost of train travel has risen in Britain by an avergae of 12% since rail privatisation began. Since 1994 (the last year before privatisation) the average cost of a standard class 120 mile journey was £24, today the same journey costs £35.
The rail pressure group, Save Our Railways, blamed the increase on a five per cent rise in fares announced before the first rail franchises were awarded.
Jonathan Bray, speaking for SOR on the Today programme said that although more money had been spent on the railways since privatisation much of that had been eaten up by the privatisation process itself and had not been used to keep rail fares down.
Jonathan Bray of Save Our Railways
Dur. 1' 46"
Mr Bray's calls for a simplified pricing system and cheaper fares for rail travel have been echoed by the under Secretary of State for Transport, Glenda Jackson. Ms Jackson also hinted that if the performance of the rail companies was found to be wanting the Government may consider increasing its regulatory powers.
The Government is concerned, Ms Jackson said, to ensure that, "public money produces a high level of service for the public". The surveys results come a week after the Government unveiled its consultation paper designed to create a more intergrated transport system.
Glenda Jackson speaking on the Today programme
Dur. 4' 46"
Ms Jackson continued, "One of the first things that the Deputy Prime Minister instituted when he took office was to order a review of the existing powers of the rail regulator and the franchise director and if we believe that their powers are insufficient and are not delivering the high standard of service we wish to see then obvioulsy this is something we will obvioulsy consider and then take the relevant steps."
Opraf, the rail franchising director's office who are responsible for fares, questioned the surveys findings saying it was impossible to make sensible price comparisons on a basis of a single journey.