Protests at rail fare hikes
A study has shown that British train users are spending up to six times as much of their wages on railway fares, as those who use trains elsewhere in Europe. Action for Rail say that some commuters in the UK are parting with 13% of their salary on trains, while Italians are paying just 2%.
This study was put out to coincide with the protests that are taking place at a number of railway stations across the UK, where campaigners and rail workers are unhappy with the increase to fares.
The report says that it weighed-up the average salary of a worker in the UK, and found that they were spending much more of their pay packet (the aforementioned 13%) compared to 2% in Italy, 3% in Spain and 4% in Germany.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It's hardly surprising that UK passengers think rail travel is bad value for money. They are shelling out far more of their income on rail fares than their counterparts in Europe. Years of failed privatisation have left us with exorbitant ticket prices, overcrowded trains and ageing infrastructure. Ministers need to wake up to this reality instead of allowing train companies to milk the system at taxpayers' and commuters' expense."
Meanwhile, Mick Whelan - the general secretary of train diver union Aslef - said: "Taking the railways back into public hands is a popular policy. The vast majority of voters - Conservative included - are fed up with paying sky-high fares so the privatised train companies can take their slice. Commuters travelling into London from Kent and Sussex know their £5,000 a year season tickets would be much cheaper under public ownership."