Press release 14th August 2018

Has the government succeeded in pricing people off the railways?

Tomorrow’s inflation figures for July are expected to be about 3.5%, setting the level of January’s fare rises. “These prices are now starting to deter people from travelling by rail, just as we forecast” said Bruce Williamson from the campaign group Railfuture. “Latest figures show that the rise in passenger numbers that we’ve seen over the last twenty years is levelling off, because people simply can’t afford to have an ever larger chunk taken out of their wallets year after year. The reason for this is that the government insists on using the RPI measure of inflation, when the alternative CPI figure is usually lower. CPI is widely regarded as a much fairer measure of inflation. Even the governor of the Bank Of England is saying that RPI has to end. Has the government succeeded in its mission to price people off the trains and onto our congested and polluted roads?”

The CPI figure is expected to be about 2.4%

“Hard-working families are facing further squeezes on their budgets following the recent interest rate rise, and higher mortgage payments will feed through by the New Year when the fare rises kick in. We’ll easily have the most expensive fares in Europe, yet the government continues to freeze fuel duty for motorists. Why the double standard? Why are rail passengers being treated like second class citizens?”

“The fall in season ticket use is the most striking, and we think it’s time for a radical review of season tickets. There’s a clear need for a much more flexible product, which suits the needs of working people who often work irregular shifts, sometimes part time, not just 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.”

Latest government passenger figures show:

Passenger journeys down from 1,729 million in 2016/7 to 1,705 million in 2017/8

Season ticket journeys down from 690.9m to 627.5m
(although passenger kilometres up from 65.0 billion in 2016 to 65.8 billion in 2017)

Season ticket kilometres down from 17.4 bn to 16.2 bn

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

These price rises affect only England. Wales and Scotland are slightly different.

Passenger data is available at http://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/browsereports/12

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk