Rail fair rises ‘would add insult to injury’, as public trust falls


With passengers braced for new rises in rail fairs, and further chaos on Northern Rail, new research has shown a 6% fall in trust in the train industry.

Consumer group Which?’ said that in July 2018, only 23% of people told its consumer insight tracker that they trust train travel. This represents a six percentage-point drop compared with July 2017.


Which? also said that its analysis of Transport Focus data found that passenger satisfaction has stagnated over the past 10 years.

Chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: ‘With persistent poor service, delays, cancellations and the hassle of getting compensation for journeys, it’s unsurprising that trust in the rail industry has been consistently low and only getting worse.’

The news comes as Northern rail cancelled services for a third consecutive Sunday, with 80 out of 1,500 planned services not running.

This week, official inflation figures (due at the time of writing) are expected to trigger a further rise in regulated rail fares. These are linked to the RPI measure of inflation, which could be as high as 3.5%.

The prospect of higher fares for Northern passengers has led the metro mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region to write to transport secretary to demand a freeze on rail fares.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham (pictured) said: ‘The rail industry has caused real misery for thousands of passengers across the North. Not only have people lost time at work or with their families, they have had to shell out for taxis, extra childcare and even hotel bills because of the continuing disruption.

‘To ask these long-suffering passengers now to pay even more for a poor, unreliable service is to add insult to injury. A freeze in the current fares is the very least that passengers deserve.’

Rail union the RMT repeated its call for Arriva Rail North, which runs Northern services, to be stripped of its franchise and its routes nationalised.

Alex Hayman, director of public markets at Which?, said: 'Price rises will be yet more bad news for passengers, many of whom have endured a summer of chaos, including cancellations, delays, overcrowding and poor service from train companies.'


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