Congestion Charge On The Railway

We heard recently about the road charging proposals… so, as a motorist I think to myself, I like my car, but I’ve commuted on the train before… its not so bad and for places like London, its great. Now this… ‘ Rail ‘congestion charge’ proposed’

So, lets get this right… the government want to force people off the road and onto public transport (laughable since most of it is privately owned)… and now the public transport companies see this as a good excuse for a fare hike. Their reasoning is to try and make more people use off-peak services. Lets assume (reasonably so) that most people using trains at peak times are commuters going to and from work… are they expected to suddenly get flexi-time so they can start travelling at off-peak times… unlikely.

These proposals are simply another way for the private companies that now run the railway to increase their profit. Its absolutely outrageous. I want the Conservatives back in power, but they are the ones responsible for the privatisation of the railways and it has to be one of the single biggest mistakes they made. As with all private companies… they are run for one thing and one thing only… profit. And in this case, the people who suffer will be the people who rely on the train to get them to and from work… the same people that create the largest chunk of any train operators profits… the people who cough up monthly (or longer) in advance for travelcards.

The rail companies would have us believe that they are doing us a favour by selling us these tickets, but in essence, whilst the ticket is cheaper, the money the rail company can make is greatly increased, so they aren’t doing us a favour at all. I paid £560 a month for my rail ticket when I worked in London. About £28 per day if you work on the basis of 20 working days a month. So I buy my ticket on day 1 (a Monday) and I use it. The rail company effectively has £532 sitting in their bank account earning interest. On day 2 this drops to £504 and so on. Obviously over the weekend, it doesn’t drop since its unlikely I’ll be going to work. The amount they make in interest alone from travelcards is unbelievable yet as a passenger with a travelcard you have practically no rights to claim any money back if your train is delayed or cancelled. Its scandalous. Yet every day thousands of people put up with this because they realistically have very little alternative.

And now they want to screw their customers over some more. The shareholders and the directors of these companies are parasites. Put the railways back into public ownership. Reduce (slightly) the ticket prices to encourage people to use the train and then pump all the money back into the infrastructure. Reinvest to improve the system for the future. This is the only way our railways will improve.

If this kind of charging is introduced, it is only going to hurt the people who rely on the trains to get to and from work. Most tourists travel at off-peak times anyhow, so they are unlikely to notice any difference. But for those people who find themselves priced out of driving to work, the train may not be a viable alternative… what are they supposed to do then?

Story Links:-
BBC News

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