‘It’s more than half my mortgage repayments’: Guardian readers on train fare rises

A protester holds a placard as during a demonstration against the annual rise in rail tickets outside King’s Cross station in Lond

A protester holds a placard as during a demonstration against the annual rise in rail tickets outside King’s Cross station in London on Tuesday.




A protester holds a placard as during a demonstration against the annual rise in rail tickets outside King’s Cross station in London on Tuesday.
Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

‘It’s more than half my mortgage repayments’: Guardian readers on train fare rises

Rail fare bosses claim increases will help improve services. We hear from people affected by the price increases

Commuters are protesting at about 40 train stations as season tickets for many passengers go up by more than £100, with campaigners warning that many people were being “priced off” UK railways.

Commuter routes with £100-plus increases include Liverpool to Manchester (up £108 to £3,152), Maidenhead to London (up £104 to £3,092) and Elgin to Inverness (up £100 to £2,904).

Average fare increases of 3.4% and season ticket increases of 3.6% are the biggest since 2013. The Department for Transport said price rises were capped in line with inflation and would help improve the network. Since 2007, rail passengers have picked up the bill for system improvements after the government decided taxpayers as a whole should pay less via subsidies.

Q&A

Have you been affected by rail fare increases?

We’d like to find out your views and experiences about train ticket prices. How much has your rail fare increased by? Are the annual ticket price rises forcing you to re-think how you travel or even change your job?

Are there hidden costs too – for instance have your car parking prices gone up too? You can views and experiences using our encrypted form here. We will feature some of your contributions in our reporting.

Guardian readers tell us how the rail fare increases are affecting them.

‘People always have to stand, with queues in the morning to get a ticket’

I was paying £16.55 for a daily return ticket which covers my journey on c2c and one tube journey to Old Street. This daily ticket has now gone up to £16.95. This is the biggest increase since I moved back to England in 2014 when I was paying £15.90.

I pay £5.50 a day to park at the train station. It has increased by £1 on Saturday’s though. I will now be looking at using the local bus service which is cheaper and saves me around £60 a month, but it also takes longer meaning I don’t get home until gone 19:15.

c2c have upped their prices but have not upped their services. Just look at the Twitter responses they get. Trains are cancelled, trains of less carriages than they should be meaning people always have to stand, queues in the morning to get a ticket.

H Wright, 25, Benfleet, Essex, marketing assistant

‘It’s now more than my half of my mortgage repayments’

My fare’s risen by 3.6% which is about £175. I have a 25-minute walk either side of my commute, as can’t afford bus or tube on top of the rail fare.

I recently brought my first house in Chatham with my partner, following 12 years’ renting in London. We were sick of paying so much in rent, and had a really bad landlord. Despite both having above average salaries, the only place we could afford to buy that was commutable was Medway so we decided to relocate and give it a go. However, my season ticket is now more than my half of the mortgage repayments and it is hard to get a seat both in the morning and evening.

I am fortunate that my employer offers interest-free season ticket loans or the annual ticket would not be an option for me. The worst thing is that you know that the cost will only increase, and the trains at the same time will only get more crowded.

Holly Chadd, 32, Chatham, work for a trade union

‘Is this fair for a 20-year-old earning £3.60 an hour?’

I catch the train Monday to Friday at 8:30am and 5:21pm from Saltburn to Middlesbrough, a 25-minute journey. I already could barely afford my £77.60 monthly return ticket on my wage; but my particular ticket has now increased by £1.90, making it £79.50.

Is this fair for a 20-year-old earning £3.60 an hour? Older generations often make remarks about financial independence towards younger people, but how can I be expected to be such a thing now? I am just thankful I have parents who support me, for now.

Charlotte Cate, 20, apprentice in digital marketing

‘I’ll have to walk two miles to station as I can’t afford to pay for parking’

My fare has gone up £20 per month. Standard class season ticket from Didcot or Oxford with zone 1-6 Underground costs £569.50 each month. I take the bus to the station because it’s cheaper than parking.

Great Western has introduced new trains on our route that are supposed to ease congestion and be electric. They’re running on diesel because of well-documented overruns with electrification work. In theory the new, longer 10-carriage trains have more seats. But in practice there’s still overcrowding because passengers boarding a crowded carriage can’t walk the full length of the train to find a seat. The 10-carriage train is two five-carriage sets joined together so you’re limited to five carriages. So what? Well, the trains are too long for the platforms too. So not all the carriages are accessible. If only seven are, and four of those are first class then everyone else is crammed into three carriages.

My train timetable has changed so that my bus and train miss each other by a couple of minutes and I’ll now have to walk two miles to station as I can’t afford to pay parking. I guess this is a problem for me alone.

Valerie Jamieson, Didcot, magazine editor

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