As commuters begin returning to work today after the Christmas break, there is a piece of bad news from the rail network.
Rail fares have increased by an average of 3.1 per cent in England and Wales despite punctuality falling to a 13-year low. Extreme weather, errors in the launch of new timetables, industrial action, and signalling failures were some of the factors responsible.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has described the fare hike as a “disgrace”. In a video message, he added that the rail network should work in the interests of everybody, “not just the profits of the few”, and said the government was to blame.
“Bring Back British Rail!”
— Rachael Venables (@rachaelvenables) January 2, 2019
The rail industry, however, said 98p of every pound spent on a ticket is invested back into the network. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling added the government had made a “record investment” in rail.
Transport secretary talks about “reality” concerning rail fare price hikes. Meanwhile, through fuel duty freeze and more, motoring continues to be molly-coddled. pic.twitter.com/pf6zYn8E63
— Carlton Reid (@carltonreid) January 2, 2019
But Wednesday’s price hike was called “yet another kick in the wallet”, according to campaign group Railfuture.