public transport hike in prices

Well folk feel free to listen to the wise words of the next prime Minister in waiting:

Many people will be traveling via train or bus or both you will have noticed both have an increase in fares. Year after year there has been no change with increases it’s no wonder why many people are right to moan about the cost of living and Ed Miliband was right to highlight this concern at the Prime Ministers Question Time (PMQs).

photoSince rail and buses went into private ownership under Maggie Thatcher those are the consequences we all have to live with until any incoming government takes the bull by the horn by taking it back into public ownership which is highly unlikely as it will cost any incoming government to buy those shares from shareholders which includes public utilities.

Prices differ from regions unless the coalition takes affirmative action to take control the current situation this will never change. The question is has privatization made a real difference in the way how rail and buses operated and by councils subsidies some of the services is it value for money.

Rail fares are rising so fast that by 2018 the Government will be making “a profit from passengers”, according to a report commissioned by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

By 2018, fares revenue will cover 103% of the operating costs of the railways, up from 80% in 2009, said the report by consultants Credo.

It added that by 2018 the Government’s share of funding the railways will have fallen to just 20%, down from 38% in 2009.

The report also said that revenue from fares had increased from 54% of overall funding for the railways in 2009 to 66% today and was forecast to grow to 69% by 2018.

Credo worked out that if fares were frozen in line with RPI inflation from now until 2018/19 they would still be significantly ahead of growth in average earnings since 2009/10.

However, if fares were frozen in line with the CPI rate on inflation from 2015, then average earnings would nearly have caught up with growth in fares by 2018/19.

The report said that between 2008 and 2013 the cost of a weekly season ticket from Reading in Berkshire to London (including a Travelcard which allows for bus and Tube travel in London) had increased by 25% while average take-home pay has risen by just 9%.

It said this was based on average London earnings in 2013 of £34,895, resulting in take-home pay of £26,539.

The report said this meant someone on average London salary and commuting from Reading would now be paying 22% of their take-home pay in transport.

CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “Rail fares have been rising faster than wages for a decade now, putting ever more strain on household costs.

“What this report shows is that by the next Parliament income from fares will not only cover the entire running costs of the railways, the Government will actually begin to start profiting from passengers.”

He went on: “The Government must re-examine its fares policy as a matter of urgency and commit to a fairer system in line with the consumer price index so that fares only rise in line with wages.”

Britain’s rail fares rip-off raced full steam ahead yesterday even as privately run services ground to a halt in the face of the latest stormy weather.

Privateers’ body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) tried to spin new January rates as good for travellers but a look at the numbers quickly revealed more above-inflation rises.

Firms were bullied by the government into limiting overall price increases of “regulated” fares – mainly season tickets – to no more than 3.1 per cent.

They were allowed to put some up by up to 5.1 per cent so long as the average remained at 3.1, still three times the average pay rise in Britain.

Some season commuter tickets in south-east England broke the £5,000-a-year barrier for the first time as a result of the rises.

Yet RDG director-general Michael Roberts boasted that fares had only gone up by 2.8 per cent across the the board.

“The lowest increase across all fares for four years shows the industry’s determination to maintain the phenomenal growth in rail travel since the mid-1990s,” he claimed.

The headline figure was helped by publicly owned East Coast Mainline, which stood alone among rail franchises by announcing real-term cuts to many of its tickets.

Privatisation-threatened East Coast drew praise when it announced freezes or below-inflation rises on many of its routes last week.

Off-peak and anytime tickets from London to centres such as Edinburgh and Newcastle are some that will remain the same.

But on privately run routes such as Virgin’s West Coast Mainline to Glasgow people unable to secure advance tickets face rises well above inflation.

Anytime standard tickets from London to Manchester rise 4.2 per cent to £160.50, while a similar fare from London to Glasgow will go up 4.14 per cent to £176.

Though first-class travellers to Glasgow got a handout with prices up only 1.75 per cent.

The RDG’s propaganda offensive included a pie chart claiming that private firms only take 3p in the pound in profit from income.

But it also showed that another 11p goes on hiring trains from shadowy private rail leasing firms and 9p is spent on “interest payments and other costs.”

Privateers have historically borrowed heavily on the money markets in order to secure contracts paid by the public purse.

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh complained that rail fares have risen 20 per cent since 2010 and said Labour would “put a tough cap on rail fares.”

But rail union RMT general secretary Bob Crow said private ownership was to blame.

“Today’s disruption to services is worsened by a billion-pound backlog on essential maintenance and renewals, coupled with cuts to staffing, which leave Britain’s railways constantly on the edge.

“The link between privatisation, high fares and the repeated disruption to services could not be clearer.

“Public ownership is the only solution to this outrageous racketeering.”

The other side of the coin is people can see in the long term affect in the near future prices will outstrip affordability which will play on people’s minds choose between food vs heating or seeing very long queues of Foodbanks, salaries not going up with inflation, followed by rent, mortgage, and energy price increases are a few to go on.

The coalition alleges they are the government that cares for you whilst they give a good talk behind our backs naturally they stick two fingers at us all, all the way to the banks. Some will argue that this does not affect them as they have their own car well I’ve got news for car owners sooner or later with the price of petrol and oil increases will be out of reach for some people and will have rethink again.

Yet the coalition will not heed the words of Campaign for Better Transport that rail fares are raising so steeply that the government will be making a profit from commuters by 2018.

The raising transport cost has jumped 50% in 10 years reporting suggestions that increases are barrier to economic recovery.

But instead of increasing Local Government budgets we’ve learn from this coalition it’s Armageddon Time for local government in 2014 onwards by introducing more cuts which includes transport budget which they will have implement on to customers.

Here is an example of what is happening in the quiet Oxfordshire market town of Witney – David Cameron‘s constituency – parents are angry. Residents have held more than 10 public meetings, set up a Facebook campaign and sent letters to the prime minister. As in many other parts of the country, they are fighting the council’s proposal to reduce its free school bus service.

Central government has cut by 8.5% the amount it will give councils to run local services over the next two years and wiped 34% from councils’ pot for home-to-school transport for poorer pupils, meaning local authorities are scaling back the amount they spend on school buses.

Many councils have already reduced their funds for school transport. They include Birmingham (projected savings of £1m in 2013-14), Sheffield (£300,000), East Sussex (£33,000 over the next three years) and Leeds (£2.8m, 2013-14). Essex, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Gateshead, Norfolk, North Yorkshire and Cornwall are reviewing their school transport budgets.

Councils are required by law to provide free transport to some young people, such as children under eight who live over two miles away from school, and those with special needs or a disability.

But Jane McConnell, chief executive of Independent Parental Special Education Advice, a charity that advises parents of children with special needs, said councils under financial pressure were confused about their legal obligations.

She said: “We’ve had a huge rise in the number of parents calling us to ask advice about school transport over the past year. The calls are up by about a third. Lots of local authorities have changed their policies, and often they are adding things that stifle the eligibility criteria.

“They are saying things like: ‘If you’re a child with special educational needs, then you can’t have free transport unless you live outside the statutory walking distance.’ That’s absolutely not the case.”

Councillor David Simmonds, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “Councils have faced significant cuts during this parliament and budgets have reduced by more than 40%, leading to constraints.”

The decision to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance in 2010 has also dented the income councils generate from charging over-16s for school journeys.

Andrew Wallis, lead member for children and young people at Cornwall council, said: “For the last couple of years, we’ve put up a fund of £800,000 for post-16 providers to help them fund transport. But obviously, this money has to come from somewhere else: you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Oxfordshire county council says it can no longer afford to offer school transport services that go beyond the statutory requirements. It proposes ending free transport for children who travel more than two or three miles to school, unless the school is the nearest one to their home.


One response to “public transport hike in prices

  1. Well let’s be honest I don’t think even the tories believed it when they claimed privatisation would create competition and drive down costs they just wanted their fund providers to make more money.

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