Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Train Fares to rise.

First of the month? Time to pay the fare!
So a wave of Railway companies have announced the January rise for commuters with an average of 5.91% across Southeastern trains.

Well... It is better than 8% but only delays the inevitable.

5.91% comes to about an extra £18's a month. Not much but about £216's a year and my pay rise of 1% (if it comes at all) = £200 P.A.
Effectively I'm paying out an extra £15's this year so a manageable increase?
It is certainly something that I can absorb this year IF you were to take out increases in utilities (mainly electricity as my house has no central heating and we rely on electric spot heaters.), Nursery fees for our daughter and without worrying about spot repairs or necessary work on our ageing house.

I.e. we need fresh carpeting in the Bathroom, may need a new toilet soon as ours is 30 years old and the flush is dying, a new roof for the conservatory as the old one has massive holes in it, paying off the new washing machine.... It is endless.

Another concern is that fares will rise again next year by a similar amount and I read a story on the Telegraph website that said fares could rise by a total of 24% of their current price over the next four years so that would be a rise of £75's per month extra by 2015!

This sort of increase is unsustainable for people on the bottom rung such as myself. I read in the Evening Standard that Boris Johnson was proposing keeping certain fares low so that people who work in the support and service industries won't have to pay as much as others. This is fair as Security staff (me), cleaners, council workers, ambulance staff, catering staff etc... all on £10-25,000 P.A cannot afford to have ever increasing chunks taken from their wages and sooner or later they will have to abandon working in London and look for elsewhere to live or work. As anyone who has played Jenga will tell you - if you remove the supports and the bottom level of any structure IT will collapse.

It isn't just the Season ticket rise that is the problem. It is the casual day trippers who are getting hit by even higher prices as the network is limited to an average rise of prices. Some lines will pay more. I heard recently that Tunbridge Wells to London was projected as a higher increase than Medway to London. My wife bought an all day Travel card to London for the cost of £33's  where as a Return to Winchester was £34's a much longer journey. There is certainly disparity and it is forcing people off the relatively Green mass transit railway in favour of their cars. Soon Working and the squeezed middle won't be able to afford railways.
The Metro drew a Pie chart showing where the pounds were going with only 3% of every £1 going to profits:

48% to Network rail (the guys who maintain the lines and disrupt our weekends)
4% energy and fuel
11% leasing trains.
17% Staffing
17% train maintenance, administration and contractors.

Last year though Network Rail made profits of £438 Million's... yep £438 Million pounds... More than my family has made since it landed in these lands in the 13th Century and more than we will earn (short of Sophie being a genius!!!) before the 33rd Century.

A feeling of hopelessness has befallen me and many other commuters. We've got no one else to turn to.
We've written to the Train Companies to no avail.
We've written to our MPs - Tracey Crouch, Mark Reckless and Rehman Chishti have done all they can and with the new secretary of transport managed to convince the Chancellor to keep a cap on it (reducing RPI+3 to +1) but any further restrictions would require money out of the public purse and that is being pulled to support services and the NHS etc... slightly more worthy causes.
I've written to the Deputy Prime Minister but heard nothing and he is a busy man and could not do more than our MPs really.
We've campaigned in the press.

What more can we do?

Something must be done before the prices become stupidly high and we cannot afford to go to work!

To quote Edmund Blackadder; "I'm starting to feel like a Pelican. Everywhere I look there is a large bill in front of me."

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the Blackadder quote, here's an original from me: "Toucan play at that game!" (as Mr Beakman might have said, I suppose).

    We have been down this road in the past, and I as a commuter to London myself had this sort of thing hit me on several occasions.

    I hope you read my own 'blog post on the local rail fare rises background that puts the situation in its full context over the last several years. I cannot see anything better that can be done for the time being, and I too have had to economise in times of squeezes.

    Never forget where this all originated and whose manipulations put us all in this position (I am included as one of those non-commuters who stands to be worse hit than you are, as you mentioned) and it's really just a period to be got through, with the expectation of better things to come a few years hence.

    That's how it went before, back in the 'eighties, so it does happen. Lights and ends of (railway?) tunnels, and all that: still a long way off, but it's there!