Thursday, 21 August 2014

Railways+privatisation=grand theft from the people

I would like to give my thanks to those of you who demonstrated at various rail stations across the UK yesterday-especially as yet another above-inflation train fare rise, of 3.5%, will come into effect in January 2015. Bringing the railways back into public hands (as well as other types of public transport) needs to be a priority, and I am once again glad that the Green Party is fully committed to this.

To prove to you that railway privatisation has just resulted in grand theft from honest users like yourselves and I, and with worse service (especially on First Capital Connect!) to boot, here is a comparison of return fares of short, middle distance, and long return journeys in the UK and several other EU nations:

Short journey (~20 miles, the distance from my home town of Ware into London):

Great Britain (Ware to London): £17 (one day travelcard)
Ireland (Cork to Mallow; I stayed in Cork on my holiday in Ireland back in 2012): £14.35
France (Calais to Boulogne-sur-Mer): £6.60
Germany (Munich to Moosach): £8
Spain (Barcelona to Casteldefells): £10
Portugal (Lisbon to Vila Franca da Xeira): £14
Belgium (Brussels to Brain-l'Alleud): £6
Netherlands (Amsterdam to Hilversum): £12
Italy (Rome to suburbs near Formello, Bivio etc.): ~£14.
Poland (Warsaw to Nowy Dwor Mazowiecki): £6.

Semi-long journey (100 to 150 miles, the distance from London to Bristol):

Great Britain (London to Bristol): £193; (Cambridge to Birmingham New Street): £88
Ireland (Cork to Dublin):  £55.90
France: (Calais to Beauvais): £44.80
Germany (Berlin to Dresden): £70
Spain (Madrid to Albacete): £40
Portugal (Lisbon to Fratel): £36
Belgium (Rochefort to Ghent): £60
Netherlands (Amsterdam to Groningen): £52
Italy (Milan to Bologna): £62
Poland (Warsaw to Lublin): £16

Long journey (200-250 miles, the distance from London to Newcastle-upon-Tyne):

Great Britain (London to Newcastle-upon-Tyne): £126.00; (Birmingham to Plymouth): £215
Ireland (Cork to Dundalk; non-direct route and I recommend that you do not try this in practice): £64.30
France (Paris to Nantes): £51
Germany (Nuremberg to Dresden): £110
Spain (Madrid to Valencia): £50
Portugal (Faro to Caxarias, non-direct route and rather awkward): £75
Belgium: n/a 
Netherlands: n/a
Italy (Milan to Arezzo): £100
Poland (Warsaw to Wroclaw): £38

Yes, I am aware that the Telegraph did a similar analysis, in case you ask-but in my opinion it did not cover enough European nations and it was not comprehensive enough. Also, the 200 miles+ section of the article did not show a good comparison-the distance from Milan to Rome is 360 miles, compared to 220 miles from London to Sunderland. One issue with the British railway network in particular is that most long-rail distance routes originate or terminate in London and the few others that do not (e.g. Stanstead Airport to Birmingham) can actually turn out to be even more expensive in practice. In either case, it is important that in the months coming up to the general election that we keep campaigning for the return of the British rail network (and other once public services) into public hands.


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