Rail fares are set to “rocket” next year, with European owners of UK train services “robbing” passengers to hold down their domestic prices, a new study claims.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union published a prediction of rail fares, which will rise in line with August’s RPI inflation.
The RMT calculated what a 3.5% increase would be on some key routes, pointing out that passengers travelling on services operated by Italian, German and Dutch state railways will be paying much more than elsewhere in the EU for comparable journeys run by the same company.
The union said:
:: Passengers in the UK travelling on Italian state owned C2C railways are paying 2.4 times more than their counterparts on similar services run by the same operator in Italy.
:: Travellers on German state owned Arriva North railways are paying a third more than their counterparts on similar services run by the same operator in Germany.
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:: Passengers in the UK travelling on Dutch state owned Greater Anglia railways are paying twice as much as their Dutch counterparts on similar services run by the same operator in the Netherlands.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “UK rail passengers should be bracing themselves for the fare hike announcement next month.
“As inflation is running high, it will be yet more grim news for workers struggling to make ends meet.
“To add insult to injury, passengers travelling on lines in the UK operated by Italian, German and Dutch state railways, could be paying around two and a half times more than their counterparts on comparable journeys on the continent run by the same operator.
“That means UK passengers on our clapped out privatised railway, are paying more and more to help keep fares down on other European railways.
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“It is a national scandal that this Government is perpetuating by allowing more foreign state owned outfits to bid for British rail services, while simultaneously blocking any British public ownership of our railways.”
The rate of RPI inflation for the year to July, due to be announced on August 15, will set the increase in regulated fares, which will come in from January 2018.
Predictions of fare rises published by the RMT include a £134 increase in an annual season ticket from Brighton to London Bridge to almost £4,000, an increase of £136 from Salisbury to Bath to over £4,000 and a rise of £107 from Manchester to Liverpool to £3,151.