By Sean Weston
On 2nd January 2020, rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales will rise by 2.7%.
The rise comes off the back of a 3.1% increase at the start of the year. As a result, commuters will face an increase of £100 a year to get to work.
Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said the extra money will allow the train companies to invest in improvements to the network, including 1,000 extra services a week in 2020.
He added: “The industry will continue to push for changes to fare regulations to enable a better range of affordable, mix-and-match fares and reduced overcrowding on some of the busiest routes.”
Mr Plummer said that 98p in every pound from fares went towards the cost of running the railway.
The question is though – will services improve?
Well, the statistics of late trains don’t show much hope. It was reported two months ago that more than a third of British rail services failed to reach their station on time over the past year and just 64.7% of services were on time in the 12 months to the end of June.
Watchdog Transport Focus described the figures as unacceptable and transport secretary, Grant Shapps commented on the matter, saying:
“Commuters just want their trains to run on time and that’s my first priority. New statistics published today will stop masking whether trains are really on time.
“I believe this is a step in the right direction, providing more accountability and transparency to help hold operators to account, but much more needs to be done to get performance to where it should be.”
Network Rail released figures on train punctuality between 13th October 2019 to 9th November 2019, which shows that only 59.3% of 6,336,542 trains arrived on time.
As the data above shows, there is still a long way to go for improving the services that commuters will be paying more for come the new decade.
Another issue facing those in charge of rail services is the increase in crime.
The British Transport Police recorded 68,313 crimes in 2018/19, up from 60,867 during the previous 12 months. Violent crimes were up 16% and sexual offences were up by 8%.
Police figures also show other crimes increasing on the rail network, including:
- Possession of controlled drug (up 52% to 2,305).
- Theft from person (up 36% to 7,593).
- Theft from vehicle (up 26% to 823).
- Assault on police (up 17% to 750).
The upcoming election will be very interesting as to what the fate of rail services, as all major parties have pledged to reduce train fares.
We’ll have to see how this unfolds.
Network Rail http://bit.ly/2rz8d61
National Rail Enquiries http://bit.ly/2P5VBME