Should first class train travel be scrapped?
The Government are toying with the idea of scrapping first class train travel on routes that are busiest for commuters. Train companies won't lose out on money because they'll be given money to provide the extra seats.
Of course, a lot of train companies open up first class when they're overcrowded, but that hinges on whether first class is empty or not. Now, it seems, certain routes won't open up the front carriages up to wealthy people in the first instance, thereby ensuring that there'll be more room for the proles going to work.
With rail fares in the UK rising by an average 3.1%, something needs sorting out because people can't be expected to pay more for a service that is getting increasingly worse. The Government have promised to cap fares as train ticket inflation is greater than wage increases, but the 3.1% rise is for regulated fares only (including season tickets) while increase on unregulated fares (off-peak leisure tickets) are not capped.
The Department for Transport state that these increases are paying for the £38bn of investment in the rail network over the next five years, even though a decade of price hikes has shown little for us so far, leaving us with the most expensive trains in Europe and a cruddy service to boot.
A lot of UK commuters, according to campaigners, are coughing up almost 15% of their salary towards a season ticket, compared with less than 5% in Germany, France, Spain and Italy, just to get to work and back.
At least the commute will see the people who normally sit in the posh seats suffering with the rest of us. Hopefully then, when they're crammed in a carriage with everyone else, something might change for the better... provided they're not the only people who can actually afford train tickets.