Unions say UK commuters spend more of salary on rail fares

A campaign organised by rail unions and the Trades Unions Congress claims that passengers in Britain spend up to six times as much as their European counterparts on rail fares.

Action for Rail (AfR) claims that a UK worker on an average salary would spend 13% of their monthly wages on a £357.90 monthly season ticket from Chelmsford to London.

Passengers making similar journeys in Italy, Spain and Germany would spend 2%, 3% and 4% of their salaries, says AfR. In France the equivalent figure is 10% of the average salary.

AfR blames rail privatisation for the disparity, although its research does not take into account how much of an individual’s tax in the European countries surveyed is used to subsidise rail fares.



Action for Rail price comparisons

         From To     Distance (miles)    Monthly season ticket £  Monthly median earnings -full time     % of monthly median earnings

UK     Chelmsford  London       29      £358  £2,745        13%

Germany     Eberswalde  Berlin 31      £95    £2,452        4%

France        Etampes      Paris  29      £234  £2,422        10%

Italy   Cerveteri Ladispoli Rome 29      £37    £1,929        2%

Spain Arenys de Mar      Barcelona    27      £56    £1,805        3%


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  • Peter Lawlor - 17/01/2016 13:43

    In the case of France, the cost of commuter travel in a ring about 40 miles around Paris has recently been changed dramatically. In June 2015 a one price universal monthly pass was introduced (Navigo) This now costs €70(£53) for all transport, bus , train, metro 24/7 throughout the region. Couple this with requirement that French employers reimburse half of the price to employees, means that most people can travel anywhere at any time for about £26 a month. The French state probably does subsidize transport in and around Paris, but I doubt that this is more than 50% more. So the discrepancy between the fares £358 in UK to £26 in France is horrendous. Where does this money go?

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