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Rail fares have increased at more than twice the speed of wages since 2008, according to new analysis released today (Tuesday) by the TUC.

The figures show that rail fares have risen by 42% over the past ten years, while nominal weekly earnings have only grown by 18%.

The findings come as the government announces another year of inflation-busting increases for season ticket holders.

TUC analysis published in January showed that UK commuters spend up to 6 times more of their salary on rail fares than other European passengers.

Despite months of cancellations and delays, private train companies paid out at least £165 million in dividends to their shareholders. The taxpayer handed £3.5bn to these companies last year (2016/17).

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“UK commuters are paying through the nose for overcrowded and understaffed trains. The last thing they need is another inflation-busting fare increase.

"Our railways need urgent investment. But private rail companies are being allowed to prioritise shareholder profits over improving services.

“It’s time for Britain’s railways to be publicly owned. This would free up money for much-needed upgrades and lower ticket prices.”

Editors note

- Wage growth and increases to regulated rail fares for 2008 to 2018

Year

Total pay, £ week

% change in pay per week

Rail fare index 2017 = 100

% change in rail fares

2008

435

3.6

69.10

4.3

2009

435

0.0

72.78

5.3

2010

444

2.1

78.61

8.0

2011

455

2.5

84.21

7.1

2012

461

1.3

88.24

4.8

2013

466

1.1

91.95

4.2

2014

471

1.1

95.03

3.3

2015

483

2.5

97.02

2.1

2016

495

2.5

97.28

0.3

2017

506

2.2

100.00

3.6

2018 forecast

520

2.7

103.50

3.7

Total '08 - '18

19.5

50.1

Source: Pay figures from ONS average weekly earnings and OBR forecast for 2017. Rail fares using ONS rail fares figures and OBR’s forecast for RPI in 2018.

- Around half of all fares are regulated, and include season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long distance journeys and anytime tickets around major cities.

- Figures on public subsidy come from the Office of Rail Regulation’s 2016-2017 data, Table 3.13: bit.ly/2hOBAfd

- The £165 million figure on dividends is derived from the latest annual submissions by rail firms to Companies House. As not all firms have yet submitted the full figure for the year is expected to be higher than £165 million.

- The government limits the annual increase in regulated rail fares to RPI inflation. That figure will be announced on Wednesday 15 August, and will come into effect on 1 January 2019. The TUC will have spokespeople available for interview.