Lib Dems slam 'rip-off' rail faresBritish fares are the 'dearest in Europe'

21 January 2008

Britain’s rail fares are the most expensive in Europe according to new research by the Liberal Democrats.

They say the distance £10 will take a British passenger is now just 27 miles, down from 55 miles in 2002.

The same amount of money buys you 50 miles in France, more than 200 miles in Slovakia and 383 miles in Latvia.

The Liberal Democrat research also found that, on average, it now costs £48 to travel 100 miles in Britain - £30 more than it did in 2002.

'Rail rip-off'

Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary Norman Baker said: ‘Britain’s rail passengers are being hit by the great rail rip-off.

‘Our rail fares are the most expensive in Europe and have continued to rise in real terms, while the cost of motoring is falling.

‘Massive fare rises, like the ones we saw earlier this month, are pricing travellers off the railways.

‘Labour ministers regard spending on the roads as investment but spending on the railways as subsidy, just as their Tory counterparts did before them.’

Price hikes

Earlier this month rail commuters were hit by inflation-busting price hikes of as much as 14%.

Regulated fares - most season tickets, standard fares and saver tickets - increased by an average of 4.8%, while unregulated, off-peak tickets jumped by 5.4%.

The Association of Train Operating Companies has hit back at the new research. A spokesman said: ‘The Liberal Democrats are using very selective research and are not showing the full picture. Their research is there to serve a political purpose and as an industry we would refute what they say.’