POLITICS

Plan To Renationalise Railways Will Cut Costs For Commuters, Says Labour

Commuters could save more than £1,000.

31/05/2017 22:30 BST | Updated 01/06/2017 11:27 BST
PA Archive/PA Images

Renationalising the railways will cut costs for commuters, Labour has promised. 

The party says its plan to bring the system into public ownership will see passengers save an average £1,014 on their season tickets a year. 

Rail costs have risen by 27.1% over the last seven years and Labour says a decision by the Tories to cap fares at the Retail Price Index rather than the Consumer Price Index means inflation is over-estimated and consumers pay more. 

It has promised to cap prices at the Consumer Price Index and introduce further reductions ‘as more services come into public ownership and greater savings become available’.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “Theresa May’s failure to commit to freezing rail fares shows just how out of touch they are.

PA Wire/PA Images
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald, right, with Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.

 “Under the Conservatives, fares have risen three times faster than wages, passenger satisfaction is plummeting, punctuality has fallen to a 10-year low and promised upgrades have either been delayed by years or scrapped altogether.

“Privatised rail has failed and it will take more than tinkering around the edges to deliver much needed improvements for passengers. Labour will take the railways back into public ownership and put passengers first by capping fares.”

The Tories pledged to freeze rail fares in their 2015 manifesto but have opted not to promise the same during this election campaign. 

Between 2011 and 2013 rail fares were allowed to rise by RPI plus 1%, but the scheme was later scrapped.  If it were readopted, Labour says the average cost of a season ticket will rise by an extra £160 by the end of the next parliament.

A full breakdown of the costs is below:

 

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

RPI + 1 (%)

4.7

4.6

4.1

4.1

4.2

Average season ticket price rising in line with RPI + 1%

2,919

3,053

3,178

3,309

3,448

RPI (%)

3.7

3.6

3.1

3.1

3.2

Average season ticket price rising in line with RPI

2,891

2,995

3,088

3,184

3,286

CPI (%)

2.4

2.3

2

2

2

Average season ticket price rising in line with CPI

2,855

2,921

2,979

3,039

3,099

Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Campaign for Better Transport said their analysis showed commuters in marginal seats could make a difference to the outcome of next week’s election.

Chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “We need rail fares that reflect modern working practices.  A season ticket system based on Monday-Friday is stuck in the past, and we need fairly discounted season tickets for part-time workers introduced as a priority and a fast track for Oyster style Smart Ticketing.

“This requires a Government leadershipwe’ve waited too long for train operating companies to take voluntary action on simplifying train tickets, we’ve had various ‘trials’.  It’s time for the next government to bring in simpler, cheaper multi-modal ticketing.”