Commuters' decade of pain to pay for train

COMMUTERS have hit out at new rail fares which increased above the rate of inflation yes- terday for the tenth year running.

Brighton to London tickets have rocketed by 53.82% in the last decade with a season ticket rising from £2,720 in 2003 to £4,184 today.

A weekly ticket for commuters working in the capital is now £104.60, up from £68 in 2003. Liliya Cowper, 40, from Worthing, commutes to Brighton each day for work.

She said: “From next week I’m going to look at getting the bus.

It’s so expensive and I think I could save nearly 50% by getting the bus to work.”

Paula Williams, 43, who commutes from Berwick each day, pays £161 a month.

She said: “It is a lot of money but I don’t have any other options.”

Fares have been rising above inflation for the past 10 years with increases varying depending on train companies and route.

The hikes have been repeated across Sussex, with commuters from Eastbourne paying 58.24% more than in 2003 while those in Crawley forking out 57.55% more.

For the former, a sea- son ticket costs £4,304 (up from £2,720) with a weekly fare £107.60 (up from £68).

For the latter, commuters now pay £3,296 (up from £2,092) with a weekly ticket cost- ing £82.40 (up from £52.30).

However, the largest hike was reserved for workers in Hastings, who as of yesterday pay £4,584 (up from £2,880) and £114.60 (up from £72) for a weekly ticket.

Petition launched Campaigners have launched a petition to end the inflation busting rises and are calling on the government to set a date for action.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The impact of successive Government’s policies on rail fares is appalling.

“It’s truly shocking that we have deliberately made getting the train to work an extravagance that many struggle to afford.

“The time has come not just to stop the rises but to reduce fares.”

Norman Baker, transport minister and Lewes MP, described the continuing rise as “not ideal” but defended the policy.

He said: “We are engaged in the biggest rail investment programme since the 19th Century and it is only right that the passenger, as well as the taxpayer, contributes towards that.

“In the longer term we are determined to reduce the cost of running the railways so that we can end the era of above-inflation fare rises.”

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, said he would continue to make sure his constituents’ voices were heard but said there was no easy answer.

He added: “It’s about striking a balance between the taxpayers and rail users when paying for invest- ment in the railways.”

Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove, said: “We all know that the taxes that we pay generally are being stretched in plugging the huge hole left in our nation’s finances.

“The painful reality is that we have little choice but to ask those who use our railways to pay for them.”

Comments (9)

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6:50pm Thu 3 Jan 13

SussexLifeform says...

Having to suffer the trains into and out of London at all times of the day, I'm personally not that upset by the prices rises per se.

What really hacks me off is that despite the very high cost of a ticket, neither of the two firms operating to Brighton are capable of delivering anything that could be called a 'service'.

Timekeeping is a word apparently lost on the trains. Southerm managed to get 68% punctuality in the final three months of 2012. Think about that for a moment - if you were late for work 1 day in every 3, you'd be sacked.

Overcrowding also seems to not be in the My First Railway Dictionary they keep at Southern HQ. I'm fortunate to board at Portslade, but usually get to see season ticket holders get on at Hove and stand the whole way to Victoria or London Bridge (aka Mordor). Then, double treat, we get to play sardines on the way home too.

Then there's cleanliness. A recent survey found that Southern's trains have botulism bacteria (if I recall correctly) present in a third of their rolling stock. Botulism for chrissakes! If a restaurant had this sort of stuff kicking about, it would be shut down immediately.

So, Mr Norman Baker MP (Lewes Con) Minister for Transport, yes the price rises are broadly acceptable if the service provided in some way represented value for money. It doesn't - statistically, 1/3 of the time I'll be late, 1/3 of the time I'll risk contracting something horrendous, and almost certainly I'll get to spend an hour rammed into said filthy, late, space with hundreds of other poor souls.

The Government, and Mr Baker especially, have it within their power to do something about this utterly pathetic state of affairs. But inaction, disinterest, and odd obsession on viewing HS2 as 'Investment' means Southern and FCC are left to do what they please.

The whole point of franchising the railways was to prevent this sort of thing happening. Instead it has simply become an end date for the operator to make as much profit as humanly possible before some other bunch of profit-driven, cost-conscious, lean SIGMA6 specialists take over and continue to rape the system.

Southern and FCC have it within their capacity to lobby the Government to fund BML2 to deal with capacity and single point of failure (as Preston Park fire showed). But they won't - a secondary Brighton line would mean they'd have to pay Network Rail more money, run more trains, and carry the same amount of passengers. Ergo, less profit.
Having to suffer the trains into and out of London at all times of the day, I'm personally not that upset by the prices rises per se. What really hacks me off is that despite the very high cost of a ticket, neither of the two firms operating to Brighton are capable of delivering anything that could be called a 'service'. Timekeeping is a word apparently lost on the trains. Southerm managed to get 68% punctuality in the final three months of 2012. Think about that for a moment - if you were late for work 1 day in every 3, you'd be sacked. Overcrowding also seems to not be in the My First Railway Dictionary they keep at Southern HQ. I'm fortunate to board at Portslade, but usually get to see season ticket holders get on at Hove and stand the whole way to Victoria or London Bridge (aka Mordor). Then, double treat, we get to play sardines on the way home too. Then there's cleanliness. A recent survey found that Southern's trains have botulism bacteria (if I recall correctly) present in a third of their rolling stock. Botulism for chrissakes! If a restaurant had this sort of stuff kicking about, it would be shut down immediately. So, Mr Norman Baker MP (Lewes Con) Minister for Transport, yes the price rises are broadly acceptable if the service provided in some way represented value for money. It doesn't - statistically, 1/3 of the time I'll be late, 1/3 of the time I'll risk contracting something horrendous, and almost certainly I'll get to spend an hour rammed into said filthy, late, space with hundreds of other poor souls. The Government, and Mr Baker especially, have it within their power to do something about this utterly pathetic state of affairs. But inaction, disinterest, and odd obsession on viewing HS2 as 'Investment' means Southern and FCC are left to do what they please. The whole point of franchising the railways was to prevent this sort of thing happening. Instead it has simply become an end date for the operator to make as much profit as humanly possible before some other bunch of profit-driven, cost-conscious, lean SIGMA6 specialists take over and continue to rape the system. Southern and FCC have it within their capacity to lobby the Government to fund BML2 to deal with capacity and single point of failure (as Preston Park fire showed). But they won't - a secondary Brighton line would mean they'd have to pay Network Rail more money, run more trains, and carry the same amount of passengers. Ergo, less profit. SussexLifeform

8:05pm Thu 3 Jan 13

sussexram40 says...

Yes.
Exactly why I gave up commuting to London 10 years ago. Best to take a big pay cut and find a local job if you can.
Knocks years off your life.
The service was unreliable 10 years ago when I did it but I can see it's got even worse.
It's a disgrace.
I blame privatisation. Profit not service is now the motive.
Yes. Exactly why I gave up commuting to London 10 years ago. Best to take a big pay cut and find a local job if you can. Knocks years off your life. The service was unreliable 10 years ago when I did it but I can see it's got even worse. It's a disgrace. I blame privatisation. Profit not service is now the motive. sussexram40

8:18pm Thu 3 Jan 13

keswick says...

The pain of the increases is bad enough, but then you can do what you like when you have a captive audience, but insult is added to injury when you see 'two faced' Norman Baker being interviewed defending exactly what he opposed. That man sums up why many politicians are so despised.

As previously stated neither operator on the Brighton main line offer anything resembling a service. Southerns answer to punctuallity is to change arrival times but they still can't keep to those whilst the rolling stock on FCC would be thrown out by the Bluebell Railway.
The pain of the increases is bad enough, but then you can do what you like when you have a captive audience, but insult is added to injury when you see 'two faced' Norman Baker being interviewed defending exactly what he opposed. That man sums up why many politicians are so despised. As previously stated neither operator on the Brighton main line offer anything resembling a service. Southerns answer to punctuallity is to change arrival times but they still can't keep to those whilst the rolling stock on FCC would be thrown out by the Bluebell Railway. keswick

9:42pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Brightonscouse2 says...

We've just been looking at single fares back from Victoria to Eastbourne on a Sunday at the end of this month. £28 each it's going to cost. Plus there's a 45 minute bus ride, from Three Bridges to Lewes, thrown in. These are meant to be the advance fares they advertise!!!
We've just been looking at single fares back from Victoria to Eastbourne on a Sunday at the end of this month. £28 each it's going to cost. Plus there's a 45 minute bus ride, from Three Bridges to Lewes, thrown in. These are meant to be the advance fares they advertise!!! Brightonscouse2

9:52pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Hoarder12345444 says...

sussexram40 wrote:
Yes.
Exactly why I gave up commuting to London 10 years ago. Best to take a big pay cut and find a local job if you can.
Knocks years off your life.
The service was unreliable 10 years ago when I did it but I can see it's got even worse.
It's a disgrace.
I blame privatisation. Profit not service is now the motive.
Yeah, good point and probably why I'll stick with my local job than work up in London. Also, considering I live about 15 mins from the station, would mean me leaving home at 6ish am every day, and getting home about 7 probably. I'd constantly be knackered, moody and wouldnt get to the gym till late. Not really a life is it. Totally aside from the fact that the cost is insane and you'd need to be earning at least 60k odd to make out its worth it. If I ever did it, it wouldn't be for long and just to pay off the mortgage quicker.
[quote][p][bold]sussexram40[/bold] wrote: Yes. Exactly why I gave up commuting to London 10 years ago. Best to take a big pay cut and find a local job if you can. Knocks years off your life. The service was unreliable 10 years ago when I did it but I can see it's got even worse. It's a disgrace. I blame privatisation. Profit not service is now the motive.[/p][/quote]Yeah, good point and probably why I'll stick with my local job than work up in London. Also, considering I live about 15 mins from the station, would mean me leaving home at 6ish am every day, and getting home about 7 probably. I'd constantly be knackered, moody and wouldnt get to the gym till late. Not really a life is it. Totally aside from the fact that the cost is insane and you'd need to be earning at least 60k odd to make out its worth it. If I ever did it, it wouldn't be for long and just to pay off the mortgage quicker. Hoarder12345444

10:18pm Thu 3 Jan 13

davyboy says...

privatisation is the main problem. when the railways were in public hands, ie british rail, there were no shareholders to satisfy with a payout every year, and all profits were invested back into the infrastructure. the same applies equally to gas, water and electric companies, with their bills also rising above inflation. all the time you have shareholders expecting a dividend, there will be rises to pay for it. the bus industry is just the same. when it was national bus, there were routes running at a loss, and no-one cared. nowadays, as has been shown with the 52 route, any route not making money will be shortened or cut completely.
privatisation is the main problem. when the railways were in public hands, ie british rail, there were no shareholders to satisfy with a payout every year, and all profits were invested back into the infrastructure. the same applies equally to gas, water and electric companies, with their bills also rising above inflation. all the time you have shareholders expecting a dividend, there will be rises to pay for it. the bus industry is just the same. when it was national bus, there were routes running at a loss, and no-one cared. nowadays, as has been shown with the 52 route, any route not making money will be shortened or cut completely. davyboy

10:44pm Thu 3 Jan 13

ourcoalition says...

I must have the wrong Norman Baker, MP - I knew the one who slated the previous Government over fare rises, the train companies for poor service, the "black hole" of public subsidies to the operators, and, even argued for taking them back into state control.

I knew that Norman Baker, even voted for him once to keep out the Tory candidate! This one must be his twin brother - his Tory twin brother!!!!
I must have the wrong Norman Baker, MP - I knew the one who slated the previous Government over fare rises, the train companies for poor service, the "black hole" of public subsidies to the operators, and, even argued for taking them back into state control. I knew that Norman Baker, even voted for him once to keep out the Tory candidate! This one must be his twin brother - his Tory twin brother!!!! ourcoalition

8:50am Fri 4 Jan 13

SussexLifeform says...

Sorry, Baker is LibDem. With a U-Turn of that sort, I'd presumed he'd changed parties and joined the Tory party.

I wonder, aloud, whether the Minister's sudden change of direction may have anything to do with the impending merger of the Thameslink, Southern, and SouthEastern franchises into one big lump.

This new mega franchise is due to start in July 2015, a mere 8 weeks after the next General Election. An election which will almost certainly see a change of administration, and undoubtedly see the Minister finding himself without employ.

But that would be extremely cynical of me to think that a member of our parliament would ever seek to use his position to influence future appointment to the board of a company like Govia or First Group.

I've got a crisp fiver here (enough for 10 miles of rail travel) if anyone's willing to give odds?
Sorry, Baker is LibDem. With a U-Turn of that sort, I'd presumed he'd changed parties and joined the Tory party. I wonder, aloud, whether the Minister's sudden change of direction may have anything to do with the impending merger of the Thameslink, Southern, and SouthEastern franchises into one big lump. This new mega franchise is due to start in July 2015, a mere 8 weeks after the next General Election. An election which will almost certainly see a change of administration, and undoubtedly see the Minister finding himself without employ. But that would be extremely cynical of me to think that a member of our parliament would ever seek to use his position to influence future appointment to the board of a company like Govia or First Group. I've got a crisp fiver here (enough for 10 miles of rail travel) if anyone's willing to give odds? SussexLifeform

9:39am Fri 4 Jan 13

Morpheus says...

davyboy wrote:
privatisation is the main problem. when the railways were in public hands, ie british rail, there were no shareholders to satisfy with a payout every year, and all profits were invested back into the infrastructure. the same applies equally to gas, water and electric companies, with their bills also rising above inflation. all the time you have shareholders expecting a dividend, there will be rises to pay for it. the bus industry is just the same. when it was national bus, there were routes running at a loss, and no-one cared. nowadays, as has been shown with the 52 route, any route not making money will be shortened or cut completely.
Organisations whether private or public have to satisfy their customers in the first place. If they don't do this a private company would not survive. A public company would be supported by the taxpayer, as BR and the supposedly privatised rail companies are and remain inefficient. Most of the shareholders that you seem to despise are actually pension companies and without private companies the pension system would collapse. Do you have a solution to this or would we all have to adopt the don't care attitude that you seem to think will be OK?
[quote][p][bold]davyboy[/bold] wrote: privatisation is the main problem. when the railways were in public hands, ie british rail, there were no shareholders to satisfy with a payout every year, and all profits were invested back into the infrastructure. the same applies equally to gas, water and electric companies, with their bills also rising above inflation. all the time you have shareholders expecting a dividend, there will be rises to pay for it. the bus industry is just the same. when it was national bus, there were routes running at a loss, and no-one cared. nowadays, as has been shown with the 52 route, any route not making money will be shortened or cut completely.[/p][/quote]Organisations whether private or public have to satisfy their customers in the first place. If they don't do this a private company would not survive. A public company would be supported by the taxpayer, as BR and the supposedly privatised rail companies are and remain inefficient. Most of the shareholders that you seem to despise are actually pension companies and without private companies the pension system would collapse. Do you have a solution to this or would we all have to adopt the don't care attitude that you seem to think will be OK? Morpheus

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