Rail fares rise twice as much as wages

As of today (2/1/20) rail fares are rising by 2.7 per cent, with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) claiming that ticket prices have risen by twice as much as wages in the past decade.

The TUC have said that an employee earning an average salary in the UK would have to part ways with 16 per cent of their wages for a season ticket from Chelmsford to London (£511 a month), however, similar distance commutes in France would only cost 2 per cent and 4 per cent in Germany and Belgium.

The TUC have also said that this move cannot be justified when private rail companies have paid out over £1.2 billion in dividends to shareholders over the past five years.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary has revealed plans for trialling a new fund for flexible fares. The flexible season ticket will offer discounts to part-time employees traveling only three or four days a week to work.

Transport Focus, an independent watchdog for transport passengers in the UK has said that 53 per cent of passengers do not feel train ticket prices hold real value for money.

Back in August 2019, Health Assured suggested that irregardless of the price of traveling to work, commuting stress can be reduced by offering remote or flexible working.

David Price, CEO of Health Assured said:

Probably the best way—and a slightly overlooked one—is getting rid of the commute entirely. Well, not always entirely, but allowing workers a day per week to work from home is a help. Those who have to deal with the horrors of the school run will thank you from the bottom of their hearts, and those who travel hours each way will appreciate the potential for extra sleep.

If remote working isn’t possible, then consider flexible working. One of the biggest stressors caused by commuting is the sheer number of people vying for space on trains and buses every morning. By letting people start and finish earlier or later, you’re making everybody’s life a little easier. Trains are far less full at 10 am—and there’ll be fewer people on the 8 am trains if they’re optional.