Rail fare increases

Good Grief! How Appalling! For the umpteenth year in a row, there will be a 1% increase in rail fares this January.

Well, it’s fairly compulsory since otherwise rail fares would fall way below the charges for everything else, causing massive overcrowding on the trains beyond the overcrowding which they can just about cope with. Look at how much petrol’s gone up. Only a few years since it was £1 per litre. Now it’s around £1.35. Over that time the rail fare with railcard from Cardiff to Chepstow and Lydney has gone up from £5.35 to £6.60 (about 20% rather than 35%).

Of course, it should be noted that on both sides the cost has not increased by that much. It’s gone up by a few percentage points. Much of the change is because £5.35 is worth less than it used to be.  Specifically, a rail fare set in 2007 at £5.35 would by the beginning of 2010, using the Bank of England’s pet inflation rate, have had to increase to £5.78 simply to keep up. (Going the other way, a rail fare costing £5.35 in 2010 would only have cost £4.90 if inflation had been 0% from 2007. The tidy rounding is because rail fares are rounded to 5p, favouring the passenger.)

Assuming they’re using a lower inflation rate than the railways are (there are two, based on different things; the higher one probably includes rising rail fares) and that inflation has gone up a bit since 2010, the current fares are not unreasonable.

No doubt someone will complain that my headline fare increase of 1% is wrong. No it isn’t. The other 4.9%, as the rest of the post has hopefully already made clear in a more long-winded way, is due to someone’s mismanagement of the economy requiring rail fares to rise to keep up.

If your salary is not doing likewise, this may be because you are not a member of a rail union. Consider a career change.

This post was brought to you by a member of the rail lobby.