Azara Blog: Rail passenger groups cry over increases in rail fares

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Date published: 2006/01/02

The BBC says:

Rail passenger groups have criticised above-inflation increases in train fares which have just come into effect.

Regulated fares, which cover season tickets and saver tickets, are going up by an average of 3.9%.

Unregulated fares, including cheap day returns, are rising by an average of 4.5% - but by 8.8% on one line.

The rail companies say they need the extra money for investment but passenger groups and unions say some of the higher fares are "eye-watering".

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said nobody could be happy about putting fares up but there had been improvements to the railway infrastructure, with nearly a third of the rolling stock having been replaced in the last few years.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It has all got to be paid for and we've got to strike a balance between the amount of money that the taxpayer puts in and the amount that the fare-payer puts in as well."

And why shouldn't the fare rises be even higher? The principle should be that the polluter pays. So why are rail fares subsidised by the taxpayer at all? Car drivers pay way over the odds on a carbon tax (i.e. the petrol tax). And so should rail (and bus) passengers, who don't even pay for the operational costs of their journeys, never mind the environmental costs. Unfortunately most of the people in Britain that matter are London commuters, so of course they think the rest of the country should subsidise their unsustainable transport journey. (Anything that needs a whacking great government subsidy in order to be sustained is unsustainable almost by definition.)

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