Latest Rail News

15.08.18

Rail fares set to rise by 3.2%, Grayling angers unions with calls for lower inflation

Train fares in the UK will rise 3.2% in January 2019, the government has confirmed – marginally below the expected 3.5%.

This increase is less than the 3.6% rise introduced this January, which was the steepest in five years, but has still been criticised by commuters who have called for a freeze in fare prices.

The rise could increase season ticket prices by more than £100.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has called for future rail fare and wage hikes to be based on the lower Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI) which is currently used to adjust regulated fares every January. The government’s preferred measure of inflation, CPI, rose to 2.5% in July from 2.4% in June.

A lower measure of inflation would also mean lower pay rises for rail staff.

Grayling’s comments have angered some unions, with the chief executive of RMT Mike Cash labelling today’s news as “just another kick in the teeth.”

He said: “Chris Grayling’s desperate attempt to try and make frontline rail workers pay for his incompetence and the train operators’ greed has backfired on him just like everything else he touches.”

The transport secretary said he was “very disappointed” by the union’s reaction and argued that the lower inflation measure is used by “pretty much the whole of the rest of the public sector.” He also stressed that any changes wouldn’t happen overnight as there are existing pay deals in place.

Calls for a freeze in fair prices have come from various commuter groups, including Transport Focus. The watchdog’s chief executive, Anthony Smith, said in a statement that a freeze in fares would “benefit all passengers” and “begin the process of re-building trust.”

The Rail Delivery Group has defended the rise, stating that the increase will contribute to important investments that will be made in to the rail industry.

Paul Plummer, its chief executive, said: “Fares are underpinning a once-in-a-generation investment plan to improve the railway and politicians effectively determine that season ticket prices should change in line with other day-to-day costs to help fund this.

“We understand that aspects of the current fares system are frustrating for people which is why as part of the industry’s plan, train companies are also leading a consultation to update regulation and improve the range of fares on offer, making the system simpler and easier to use for customers.”

Research carried out by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has highlighted the scale of inflation in the rail industry over the past 10 years. Fares have increased at more than twice the speed of wages since 2008, according to new figures released on Tuesday by the TUC.

Nominal earnings have grown by 18% in the UK over that time, whilst rail fares have risen by 42%.

 Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Network Rail’s subsidiary secures systems integrator contract in Australia

14/12/2018Network Rail’s subsidiary secures systems integrator contract in Australia

The Australian subsidiary of Network Rail Consulting has been named as the systems integrator for the Digital Systems Program in Sydney by Transp... more >
Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

14/12/2018Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

 Infrastructure giant Amey is expected to be sold to a private equity firm in the new year, according to reports. The Financial Times b... more >
HS2 and Crossrail suppliers admit to running ‘illegal cartel’ for 7 years

14/12/2018HS2 and Crossrail suppliers admit to running ‘illegal cartel’ for 7 years

Two UK rail suppliers to major projects such as HS1, HS2, and Crossrail have admitted to operating an illegal cartel for almost seven years with ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >
Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >