Commute Cost Increases Three Times Faster Than Wages

Lima Curtis's picture

THE AVERAGE train fare has risen nearly three times faster than wages since the recession began.

The research comes from new analysis published yesterday (Tuesday) by the TUC's Action for Rail campaign.

Between 2008 and 2012 the average rail fare rose 26.6%, while the average wage rose by just 9.6% in the same period, well below the rate of inflation.

Worryingly, this trend looks set to continue in 2013, with the Association of Train Operating Companies announcing a 3.9% increase.

However, some fares look set to rise a staggering 10% from January with wages forecast to rise just 2.5% according the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The huge disparity between fare and wage increases means that a family of four (two adults and two children) looking to travel to London on an anytime ticket from Swansea, Plymouth, Leeds, Manchester or Newcastle in 2013 will have to pay more than £481, the average weekly wage.

The findings come as rail unions, transport campaigners and passenger groups came together on Tuesday to protest against the massive fare hikes.

A spokesperson for Expert Market said: “Many people use the train to commute, and the fact fares look set to rise faster than wages is extremely worrying. In these difficult times people don’t have the extra money to fork out for travel.”

TUC General Secretary Designate and chair of Action for Rail Frances O'Grady said yesterday: “Train fares have massively outstripped wages and inflation, even during the recession. Train operating companies seem to have completely ignored the fact that real-term incomes and living standards have fallen and have ploughed ahead with eye-watering price-hikes.

“Average fare increases have risen at nearly three times the rate of average wages since 2008. However, many commuters have seen the price of travelling go up even faster with some fares increasing by as much as 10 per cent per year in recent times."

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said: “This year's fare hike is all the more painful following George Osborne's announcement of deeper cuts and austerity last week, and threatens to plunge many thousands of passengers yet further into transport poverty.

“At a time of economic uncertainty the government should be trying to help people get around, not restrict them.”

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