Thursday, 10 January 2013

Rail fares, Political football and inevitability

One of the top policy debates that will come up in 2015, as it did in 2010 is the constant rise in Rail fares. It is a burning issue here in the Medway towns and it was definitely one of the things that cost Paul Clarke (a junior transport minister) his seat. Local Conservatives, who protested at the Railway stations are now being supplanted by Labourites waving the same banners.

Although local MPs have fought hard to keep the rise in tickets to RPI+1 and limit the rise a rise has occurred.
Chelsea VS Man U.jpg.
The usual tired old arguments have come out again ->

You botched up Privatisation

You Brought in RPI+ system

You lot haven't kept your election pledges

You lot left us a deficit



Labour are now criticising the RPI+1 rise that has been brought in by the Coalition (after the hard work of local MPs) even though it is the amount their party proposed in an Opposition day motion.

Railfare has rapidly become a game of Political football.

OK, I know that I am a Liberal Democrat (boo hiss!) but primarily I am a husband and a father, a man who tries to earn an honest wage and support my family and I am seeing my wages slowly pouring down a black hole and it seems to me, as a consumer and voter that whomever wins - I still lose out.

It appears that successive Government legislation means that not much can be done.

Or is it?

To be honest, the local Tory MPs have done well to limit the rise having fought George Osborne's budget announcement (of RPI+3) and have lobbied the Ministers of transport on our behalf. Personally, Labour's calls seem a tad opportunistic.

But, if I was to carry on being honest - I'm starting to lose faith in the whole damn thing and am starting to feel pretty much defeated by the whole thing, resigned to paying more and more until I eventually can't afford to travel on the trains.

Here are the price rises from 2004-12 (thanks to John Ward's blog for 2004-11!!!)

Visual representation


I don't know who to put my faith in on this come the next election and I'm sure that most commuters feel the same way. Although the Conservatives have a better track record on this since coming into power they also have not fixed the problem, merely steemed the bleeding.

The fact of the matter is the prices keep rising and no one has any real solutions and it seems to be a constant rise under both parties.

There are a lot of Pie in the sky ideas like renationalising the network or cooperatively run franchises - all well and good but Southeastern still have the franchise and the Government are still setting the permission to raise prices.

So where does that leave us?

To be frank - I've almost given up and I'm walking out of the stands of this game, I tire of watching it and am resigned to paying more until the day I have to resign because I can't afford to travel.

It is issues like this and the petty squabbling and point scoring that has left many people disenchanted with politics as nothing seems to change.


  1. Just one concern: I have checked that it is the current (i.e. *2013*) price that is £3,672, so the increase of 10% or so is over two years, not one.

    The brakes are now on, despite J Gordon Brown's carefully-manufactured 'legacy' that effectively enforced a high rise in the first Coalition year to pay back the in-advance 'theft' of his in early 2010 to generate such a (suddenly) low increase that – election – year.

    That turbulence is now out of the way, and the future should be much more stable and sensible. It cannot be perfect nor ideal, but it will be much better than during the Labour years...

    1. Is it? Sorry about that, I just went to the Southeastern website and typed in a years ticket Chatham to Waterloo ;-)

      I should have realised it wouldn't be that simple!

      I hope that it does even out and the rate of rise is curbed otherwise there are many who will find themselves priced off the lines - including me!