There is nothing fair about the UK’s rising train fares

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Tuesday 03 January 2017 14:47
An annual season ticket from London to Brighton is now more than £4,500
An annual season ticket from London to Brighton is now more than £4,500

Those who travel by rail are expected to contribute 70 per cent of the cost of the infrastructure. Those who travel by road do not, yet they cost the planet far more in their use of carbon.

Canon Christopher Hall


Rising rail fares are the lead in the paper this morning (3 January) whilst in yesterday's edition (2 January) you reported that the cost of an annual season ticket from London to Brighton is now over £4,500.

This is indeed a lot of money to pay in one instalment to go to work but on a daily basis the cost is slightly over £12 for a return journey of about 110 miles. Probably no one uses an annual season ticket for 365 days so by removing, say, 125 days for weekends and holidays the daily price rises to about £19. For a journey of 100 miles that’s perhaps cheaper or at least on a par with motor travel, especially if parking charges and maintenance costs are included in the calculation.

However, if I, as a non-season ticket holder, were to turn up at Brighton station and buy a return ticket to London before 9am I believe I would have to pay over £50 for the same trip and probably still have to stand as part of the “bargain”. Even after 9am the ticket price is still almost £30. So what is a “fair fare”? From the viewpoint of an occasional traveller it seems that the season ticket holder is getting a good deal, which may be why the trains are full.

Alan Gwyer


We need long-term planning, not self-serving unions and politicians

While the frustrations of rail travellers are understood, you need to join up the issues, which are not about current costs of either operating or modernising the railways. The British have long abandoned their great disruptions of trade and technology and become meek and unimaginative in everything that requires long-term vision and commitment. Our “great” industries and projects seem to have been accidents more than planned outcomes. Today everything is driven by short-term “profit” with no concern for long-term cost or societal benefits. Our roads, ports, airports, and railways as well as industry are equally starved of investment and vision. Our energy “policy” is so crude it puts our future prosperity and ability to live comfortably at risk. The NHS is at risk because there is no clear stated plan and managers are criticised whilst no one sets out how the operation should be run and costs met. Our housing is a disgrace and is as clear an indicator that unguided free-market policies do not work fairly, and create suffering, as you can find.

Don't rail at the cost of tickets, take up the issue of self-interested and cynical politicians and poor governance of this whole nation. We are still “lions led by donkeys”, or stupid asses more like.

If we had decent roads and bus services the rail strikes would be an irritant to the masses while allowing the sector to sort itself out – and by that I mean not letting self-serving unions dictate archaic policies to an industry that should soon be self-driving, never mind conductorless. Comments talk about other driver-only trains, not the driver-less DLR.

Britain can lead the way again by becoming both free-market and socially caring.

Mike Mann

Address supplied

Whither now austerity?

Between 2010 and 2016, politics in the UK was dominated by just two subjects – austerity and the deficit. Anyone who challenged this “orthodoxy” was derided by Tories and the press alike. Well now it’s 2017, and Brexit looks set to dominate politics for years, if not decades.

So what happened to the need for austerity and the threat of the deficit? Has the threat passed? Was it solved? Was it just made up? I cannot understand why journalists who spoke of nothing else for six years do not begin every interview with a Tory minister with “Yes, yes, but what about the deficit, minister?”

Jamie Register


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