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A Rich Man's Railway 16/01/2006

Train passengers in the UK have condemned above inflation increases on rail tickets. Ticket prices across Britain are going up by an average of 4.2%, or twice the inflation rate. GNER is amongst one of the worst offenders raising unregulated fares by up to 8.8%, with season tickets and saver fares up 3.9%. Some claim that “It’s becoming a rich man’s railway.”

Passenger groups have accused the operator of raising prices to find the £1.3bn premium GNER agreed to pay the government when it secured the East Coast Mainline franchise for seven to ten years. Rumours abound that GNER is also intending to cut staff and services to customers in a desperate attempt to fund what many analysts see as an over bid.

The danger for companies like GNER is that there is a limit on the extent to which prices can be raised. It is set by average earnings. It is a great pity that customers will abandon the railway in favour of the car or airplane with all the negative consequences for our environment that entails.


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