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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2016

UK's private rail fares six times public rates

Dan Smart

Workers in Britain spend six times as much of their salaries on privatised rail fares as Europeans who use publicly owned services, a new study has shown.

Research by trade union campaign Action for Rail has found UK passengers spend a whopping 13% of their pay packet on travel. Compare this with 2% in Italy, 3% in Spain, 4% in Germany and 10% in France.

The 375.90 monthly season ticket from Chelmsford to London would cost just 37 for the same 29-mile distance in Rome, where rail is publicly owned.

Rip-off

Prices have been rising above inflation for more than a decade. The latest annual 'rail rip-off day' increased fares by a further 1.1%. Mick Cash, general secretary of transport union RMT, said people in Britain would "awake to another kick in the teeth from the greedy private train companies."

It is no surprise, then, that an overwhelming 62% of the population think that fares are exorbitant and support renationalisation of the railways.

Action for Rail estimates that, by taking rail franchises and their vast profits back into public ownership, passengers and taxpayers could save 1.5 billion over the next five years.

We could also use part of these resources to solve overcrowding and ageing infrastructure.

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to take railways back into public ownership - but only as contracts expire. This will take years, prolonging the misery and risking leaving the job half done.

Corbyn should take up the Socialist Party's demand: renationalise all public transport immediately, with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 6 January 2016:


What we think

2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance

No retreat on resisting council cuts!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight the flood of cuts

Support junior doctors' and student nurses' action

Another black man shot dead by the police

UK's private rail fares six times public rates

Birmingham Labour to axe at least 1,200 jobs in 165m cuts onslaught

UK wage growth will be lowest since 1920s

NHS England chiefs block hospitals from publicising emergencies

What we saw: Sadiq Khan's promises on London transport

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Floods, climate change and capitalism

Carlisle Socialist Party's action plan on floods

Profit system exacerbates flooding

Tories' hypocritical green policies pledge

Renationalise the water industry


International socialist news and analysis

No government majority as Podemos partially recovers


Workplace news and analysis

Union action needed to defeat attack on student nurses

Nationalise rail now! Rail workers strike around the country

Steel: public ownership needed as private buyers threaten pay and pensions

Condescending Tories savage Yorkshire fire service

Workplace news in brief


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Dark comic book fantasy throws light on abusive relationships

"I chose to be involved in politics, Michael Crick"

Letters


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

A 'People's Budget' to defeat cruel cuts

Stop the closure of Calderstones hospital!

2015 marks best fighting fund total this century!

Eleanor Marx: celebrate a life of struggle for socialism


 

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Related links:

Public transport:

triangleBirmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor

triangleTV review: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain

triangleOnline rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleNo increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions

Rail:

trianglePost-pandemic railway battles loom

triangleGreat British Railways shake-up offers no end to profiteering

triangleTransport union RMT tells members: refuse to work in unsafe conditions

triangleThe Red Line - Bulletin of Socialist Party members in the RMT

Fares:

triangleYet another wage-busting fare hike? Nationalise rail now!

triangleThem & Us

triangleSupport RMT strikes against the elimination of guards on trains

Transport:

triangleLondon workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

triangleRMT: Support Alan Pottage for assistant general secretary

Britain:

triangleSocialist Party national youth meeting

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleGoodlord strikers fight fire and rehire as part of day of action

RMT:

triangleEast Mids train guards strike

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