Issue date
02 Jan 2018
Biggest fare increase in half a decade comes into force today Fares set to rise a third faster than wages in 2018

Commuters across the Midlands face fresh rail fare increases as they return to work today, now spending up to 5 times as much of their salary on tickets as passengers on the continent, according to new TUC research.

UK workers on average salaries will have to fork out around 11% of their pay to travel from Shrewsbury to Stafford (£318.40 a month), or around 10% from Melton Mowbray to Derby (£259.60).

By contrast, comparable commutes would cost a mere 2% of the average salary in France, 3% in Italy, 4% in Germany, and 5% in Spain and Belgium.

Wages are set to grow by only 2.6% in 2018, while season tickets will go up by 3.6% - over a third faster than wages.

TUC Midlands, Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:

“A new year, but the same old story, with rail commuters yet again facing rip off price rises. Wages are already stretched, and this latest increase will further eat into the pay packets of commuters across the Midlands.

What’s more, it doesn't need to be this way. Commuters across Europe have access to reasonably-priced travel on public railways and it’s about time that we had a change of approach and gave commuters a break.

“Employers can help out by offering zero-interest season ticket loans, or offering more flexible work hours and locations.“But ultimately the government need to take our railways back into public hands. That will stop hundreds of millions being siphoned off by private rail firms, and allow us to put passengers first.”

Editors note

Country

From

To

Distance (miles)

Monthly season ticket cost

Average monthly earnings

% of monthly earnings

UK

Burton on Trent

Stoke on Trent

30

£287.70

£2,845.17

10.11%

UK

Chesterfield

Derby

29

£217.80

£2,845.17

7.66%

UK

Coventry

Northampton

34

£185.90

£2,845.17

6.53%

UK

Leicester

Nottingham

30

£188.20

£2,845.17

6.61%

Melton Mowbray

Derby

32

£278.10

£2,845.17

9.77%

UK

Grantham

Lincoln

34

£259.60

£2,845.17

9.12%

UK

Shrewsbury

Stafford

32

£318.40

£2,845.17

11.19%

UK

Telford

Birmingham

34

£174.80

£2,845.17

6.14%

France

Étampes

Paris

30

£66.31

£2,704.70

2.45%

Italy

Civita Castellana

Rome

27

£64.81

£2,139.28

3.03%

Germany

Eberswalde

Berlin

28

£118.15

£2,814.41

4.20%

Belgium*

Gent

Brussels

31

£143.73

£3,166.74

4.54%

Spain

Arenys de Mar

Barcelona

27

£107.57

£2,033.47

5.29%

* In Belgium, employers typically contribute to the cost of the ticket, which in practice would reduce the price further to under £50.

- Euro figures were converted to pounds at a rate of 0.881752607, the mid-market rate on 1 December 2017.

- Average full-time wages taken from the OECD’s 2016 figures: bit.ly/2nxnL7D

- Projected wage growth for 2018 taken the Treasury’s median measure of average earnings in their November forecast : bit.ly/2BFctAi (Page 8)

- In the 2015/16 financial year, private rail companies paid out £228m in dividends to shareholders. That same year, rail industry received a net public subsidy of £3.1 billion. Figures from Table 3.13 of the Office of Rail and Road’s latest report: bit.ly/2hOBAfd