Err, Yes?

Commuters bear brunt of new year fare rises

And who should it be then?

A commuter travelling from Canterbury to London will from Wednesday have to pay £4,812 for an annual standard class season ticket, an increase of £1,332 (38 per cent) since January 2008.

The cost for thousands of season ticket holders journeying from Hove to London will be £4,184, an increase of 27.6 per cent or £904. A City worker arriving from Colchester will have to pay £4,556 a year, an increase of 21.8 per cent, or £816.

Rising costs are not restricted to routes around London. A commuter with a season ticket travelling from Gloucester to Birmingham will have to pay £3,640, a rise of 26.7 per cent or £768 more than in 2008. The journey between Morpeth and Newcastle will be 16 per cent more expensive.

If you want to live in Canterbury and work in London then who should be paying the cost of that commute? You, the commuter? Or the taxpayer in subsidies?

Quite, can\’t see why the dustman or the nurse should be scalped so you can live in Kent. Suck it up matey, your choice, your costs.

14 comments on “Err, Yes?

  1. “If you want to live in Canterbury and work in London then who should be paying the cost of that commute? You, the commuter? Or the taxpayer in subsidies? ”
    I agree.
    However there are many people who don’t work in London but get free housing to live there.
    If commuters from Canterbury to London didn’t have to pay this enormous subsidy they could afford to pay their train fares very easily.

  2. Indeed; but if successive governments hadn’t caved in to the railway unions at every opportunity, the network wouldn’t cost so much to run in the first place. They’ve made a dogs’ dinner of the whole thing.

    Plus there’s a shocking side-effect: rising train fares mean falling house prices in the outer commuter belt. This being Britain, especially southeast England, we can’t possibly let house prices fall.

  3. David is right, if all the people who don’t work in London were not there there would not be a housing shortage meaning that middle-income workers in London would not need to live in Kent.

  4. @”Andrew M // Dec 31, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Indeed; but if successive governments hadn’t caved in to the railway unions at every opportunity, the network wouldn’t cost so much to run in the first place. They’ve made a dogs’ dinner of the whole thing.”
    So the subsidy is not going to commuters but to members of the RMT. Although to be fair to the RMT it is also incompetent management and the ludricous way the trains were privatised that are responsible for these costs (look at how train stocks are provided).

  5. @
    “Blue Eyes // Dec 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

    David is right, if all the people who don’t work in London were not there there would not be a housing shortage meaning that middle-income workers in London would not need to live in Kent.

    Thanks. Also parts of inner London would become highly desirable places to live. Although the places that get the wasters would suffer a bit.

  6. Andrew M

    I’ve said this before but I will say it one more time in the vain hope that it might register, the increased costs of railway operation have nothing to do with wages. If you want to understand what has really caused it a good long detailed look at the way the railways have been financed and run since privatisation will enlighten you. Who do you think pays for all the complicated new trains and signalling systems for instance ? Wages are not particularly high, indeed for some grades they are rather low, whether they reflect a true market rate for the work done is another matter. We don’t know because we don’t have a completely private railway system and if we did I would be prepared to place a large bet that fares would be even higher. If strong unions correlate with high pay and fares how is it that under BR, when the unions were actually stronger, wages were low and large fare increases just as common ? It was only privatisation that brought significant pay increases, before that most rail workers relied on often excessive overtime to earn a reasonable wage.

  7. David

    No the subsidy is not going to the RMT – which isn’t the only rail union anyway – in fact there is no subsidy in the conventional sense. Wages are a part of the overall costs both of Network Rail’s control period financing and the TOCs franchise payments. It is the back loading of the latter that causes so much trouble with franchise financing and leads to the revenue support that most of them are receiving, nothing to do with militant unions.

  8. The rough average of these fare rises works out at about 5% per annum.

    And why was 2008 chosen as a baseline, I wonder?

  9. “If you want to live in Canterbury and work in London then who should be paying the cost of that commute? You, the commuter? Or the taxpayer in subsidies?”

    The taxpayer, given the circumstances the country is in. Only it’s not to Canterbury that we should be subsidising rail travel. We need high-speed commuter rail to the North so that people can commute from the Manchester/Liverpool area to London as they now do from Canterbury. That’s going to need government subsidy to be viable, but it’s a simple way to alleviate some of the pressure on London’s housing supply.

  10. Dave

    This is pretty much the argument put forward by a lot of people for HS2, it doesn’t really stack up. We already have high speed rail links to London from places like Bristol and Peterborough, amongst others, I’m not aware it’s made any difference to housing supply in London. Let’s take it to its logical conclusion and build an ultra high speed line to the Scottish Highlands, Maglev maybe. All the huge new housing complexes in Ullapool will soon attract Londoners I’m sure. We’ve been pushing commuters further and further out of London since the first expansion of suburban railways in mid Victorian times, yet still the masses flock to the metropolis, it ain’t the answer.

  11. Its remarkable that it is remarkably cheaper to buy a car replace it regularly, fuel and other expenses than buying a train season ticket to comute

  12. Thornavis>

    I think we have rather different ideas of what high-speed commuter rail should mean. Peterborough to London takes 50 minutes on the fast train (which only runs twice an hour) for a 75 mile journey. That’s an average speed of just 90MPH. I don’t think it would make much difference if the journey took 25 or 30 minutes, but 50 is far too long.

    In any case, the plan I proposed also involved building more housing, which is currently not permitted. Without that, there’s no point having a fast train connection.

    “We’ve been pushing commuters further and further out of London since the first expansion of suburban railways in mid Victorian times”

    The idea is not to push commuters out of London, but to push London out to include other areas. If you have a 24 hour seven day a week high-speed rail link which takes less time to get to Manchester than a night bus takes to get to North London, Manchester becomes a suburb of London in a practical sense.

  13. Dave

    Well maybe easing planning laws would produce more houses to the north of London but from a railway perspective it still doesn’t work. If you think 50 minutes from Peterborough is too long to get to London you might consider why, for instance, large numbers of people live on the Sussex coast and work in London when it can take the best part of an hour and a half to get there. I’m amazed that you think an average speed of 90mph is too slow and I’d be interested to hear your proposals for drastically increasing it within the constraints either of existing lines or new ones built to non HS standards ( HS lines don’t lend themselves to commuter traffic ). I’d also be interested to hear where the money to build them is coming from.

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