Reward regular rail users, don’t penalise

THE announcement that those who travel to work by train will pay more for the privilege will undoubtedly be a bitter pill to swallow for commuters.

Many people are struggling to make ends meet as it is and, as the TUC states, most workers, on average, have not had a pay rise since 2008.

So where the government and rail bosses expect this extra money to come from to pay for these increased fares is anyone’s guess.

For the past 10 years, train fares have been rising above the rate of inflation and yet again it’s the UK’s workforce which will bear the brunt of the increases.

Whilst Southern Rail does offer a range of cheaper off-peak incentives, along with a 10 per cent discount for tickets booked on-line, this can be little comfort for those who have no alternative but to travel at peak times in order to earn a living in a tough economic climate.

The government claims the increases are necessary as it is investing in a big railways improvement project - and states that it’s only ‘right’ that passengers, as well as taxpayers, should contribute.

Commuters taking a look at their wage slip may consider the taxes they’ve paid as already being a significant ‘contribution’. They will probably also be wondering how long it is going to be before the promised ‘improvements’ come into force, and at the very least basic standards are the norm not a rarity.

With gruelling journey times of upwards of two hours from Bexhill to London, many peak hour trains are packed to capacity with over-crowded carriages offering standing room only, no refreshments, and in some instances - unbelievable in this day and age - no toilet facilities.

The UK has the highest transport costs of anywhere else in Europe.

So maybe it’s about time this was reflected in the services provided and that those who use the trains the most are rewarded, not penalised.