Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rail Fare Increases and Network Rail Fines

Today sees another round of inflation busting fare increases for those of us who attempt to comply with the initiative to travel by train. Some commuters will pay up to 11% extra to continue to stand all the way from Canterbury to London or from Bath to Bristol.

Meantime, Network Rail failed to complete essential work over the holiday period at Rugby, an important junction on the much maligned West Coast Main Line. The government's response is the threat of a multi-million pound fine.

Fat good this does. The fine will go to the Treasury where it will disappear into general funds. Not one penny of compensation to the poor travelers, those who actually suffered as a result of Network Rail's failure. No, the only additional money that will change hands is the fare increase, ironically applied on the same day.

According to a Daily Telegraph Your View poll, most travelers are at their wits end when it comes to rail travel and I can understand where they are coming from. After our pre-Christmas journey to London we have decided that next year we will drive. The journey, congestion charge and parking will cost less than the full fare and we will travel when we want to.