I was reading an article about rail fare increases the other day and the 2.7% increase in season ticket prices has upset a lot of people.
That’s not the bit that shocked me most though.
What shocked me is that an annual season ticket for Reading to London is £4,736. That deserves spelling out: four thousand seven hundred and thirty-six pounds.
That’s a serious chunk of money to do approximately 40 miles each way.
For that sort of money I’d expect the Orient Express; fine dining, white tablecloths, candelabras and maybe David Suchet shuffling by from time-to-time smoking a cigarillo. And I’d expect to be passing more picturesque places than Slough.
What went wrong with our railways? They were meant to offer cheap, convenient transport for the masses.
I presume companies pay these expenses for a lot of people but I really feel for people who have to spend that on rail fares out of their own pockets.
If you’re on the average salary that’s a 1/7th of your wages gone in one go and it could easily be a 1/5th if your on below average pay.
I know the alternatives, such as actually driving to London, are unpalatable, but that’s the hole the railways are meant to fill, cheaply.
I genuinely believe that’s an order of magnitude too much, particularly with the poor service many areas suffer and when the only seat you’re likely to get is in the luggage rack.