Average train fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages since the recession began. Our research shows that between 2008 and 2012 average rail fares increased by 26.6%, with average wages rising by just 9.6% over the same period – well below the rate of inflation.
Train fares are set to outpace wages and inflation again in 2013 after the Association of Train Operating Companies announced a 3.9% increase in average prices last week, with some fares set to rise by as much as 10% from January. By contrast, wages are forecast to rise by just 2.5% according the Office for Budget Responsibility.
The huge disparity between fare and wage increases means that a family of four (two adults and two children) looking to travel to London on an anytime ticket from Swansea, Plymouth, Leeds, Manchester or Newcastle in 2013 will have to pay more than £481 – the average weekly wage.
TUC General Secretary Designate and chair of Action for Rail Frances O’Grady said:
“Train fares have massively outstripped wages and inflation, even during the recession. Train operating companies seem to have completely ignored the fact that real-term incomes and living standards have fallen and have ploughed ahead with eye-watering price-hikes.
Average fare increases have risen at nearly three times the rate of average wages since 2008. However, many commuters have seen the price of traveling go up even faster with some fares increasing by as much as 10 per cent per year in recent times.
Our current privatised system, which is costing taxpayers a staggering £1.2bn a year, may be a wonderful Christmas present for train companies but is a huge squeeze on the public purse and commuters.”