Azara Blog: The annual whining about train fare increases

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Date published: 2012/01/02

The BBC says:

Rail commuters preparing to return to work after the Christmas break face fare rises of up to 11% from Monday, watchdog Passenger Focus has said.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said they should not have to keep paying for a "fractured, inefficient industry".

The annual rise will see the average price of regulated fares, such as season tickets, increase by 6%.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said money raised through fares helped pay for better services.
The Campaign for Better Transport is organising a day of action on Tuesday against what it calls "rip-off rail fares".
Currently, passengers contribute about £6.5bn to the running of the railways, with taxpayers picking up the remaining £4bn.
BBC correspondent Graham Satchell said big questions are now being asked about why it costs 30% more to run the railway in Britain than elsewhere in Europe.

Part of the problem is indeed that the railways are inefficiently run, and that is down to the idiotic way they were privatised by the last Tory government. But rail companies all over the world get massive taxpayer subsidies, and it is an inherent flaw in this particular transport mechanism, which the zealots never understand.

In Britain train commuters are far wealthier than non-train commuters, and so the taxpayer subsidy of billions of pounds each year represent a massive transfer of wealth from the relatively poor to the relatively rich. Not surprisingly the usual train commuter lobbies, such as Passenger Focus and the so-called Campaign for Better Transport, support this massive transfer of wealth, because they have a vested self interest, but the government should just ignore them.

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