Consider the greed implicit in this:
UK rail fares will rise by 3.4% on January 2 – the largest increase for five years, train companies have announced.
Fares for all journeys in 2018 have been published, showing an average rise slightly below the 3.6% set by the government in August for regulated fares, which include season tickets.
Rail operators said it showed the industry was attempting to keep down the cost of travel.
The price rise is, of course, higher than any pay increases received by the majority of people who will be using trains on a regular basis.
Labour has made it clear that this is unacceptable. Andy McDonald, Shadow Transport Secretary, said: “This latest increase in rail fares is staggering.
“Private rail companies continue to cash in while passengers and commuters have to cough up.
“The Tories should follow Labour’s example and commit to ending the scandal of train companies being run for profit rather than people.”
The minority Conservative government has signalled that it understands the problems raised by this above-income price rise – trailing a new ‘Millennial Railcard’ heavily before last month’s Budget speech. And is it any good?
The Guardian dismissed it last month: “The railcard functions more as a symbol of the kind of government we have: one that recognises that young people in this country are in economic crisis, but hasn’t got the faintest idea of what to do about it.”
This is far too charitable; the Tories simply don’t care. They have put working people in a situation where they have to work hard, simply to keep their jobs, and must accept cut after cut in their own budgets, including the rising cost of home-to-work transport. And the railcard offers absolutely no help – there are no discounts attached to use of the card, as Peter Stefanovic makes clear:
A "new" millennial rail card that gives NO DISCOUNT whatsoever on Extortionate, Ripoff rail travel season tickets?! Pull the other one Phil, it's got bells on! Don't let him get away with it! PLEASE HIT THE SHARE BUTTON
Posted by Peter Stefanovic on Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Mr Stefanovic tweeted:
a simple question @PhilipHammondUK for the thousands of nurses and public sector workers facing real terms pay cuts and travel to work by train every day, how will they afford the extortionate, ripoff 3.4% rail fare increase in January announced today? PLEASE REPLY
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) December 5, 2017
So far, it seems Mr Hammond has failed to respond.
That’s no surprise. Tories always crawl back under their rock when the hard questions start coming out.
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