Today say confirmation of the RPI inflation figure of 5%. Now apart from giving us real concern about the squeeze on our standards of living, this figure also confirms to all rail commuters that the cost of travelling to work will increase by 8% in January 2012.
This is a massive jump. My monthly season ticket costs at present £132.50. After this 8% rise it will cost £143.10 (give or take a few pennies). That represents an increase of £127.20 per annum on the cost of travel.
The above inflation price hikes are part of the government strategy to rebalance the amount of subsidy that is provided by the tax payer for the rail industry. They feel that more should be generated from fares than currently is, and this is putting undue pressure on the fare paying public.
Now, I am currently studying a recently published report from the Department of Transport about the Value for Money of GB Rail, and it makes for interesting reading. I will report back when I am done.
But I feel more needs to be done to ensure that rail travel remains affordable for the majority. I feel that commuters should benefit from choosing to travel by train, rather than being penalised. I think more should be done to encourage people to travel by train, and ensure that train travel is fit for the 21st century. If that means there should always be a level of government subsidy for rail travel, then I would agree with that.
Rail infrastructure is a key part to the economic future of our country, and the government should always ensure that it plays a part in its future.