Pandemic Rail: Who Foots the Bill?
During the coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent lockdown, there have been less customers using trains across the UK, causing a loss of income.
Once important hubs for transportation across Britain, even the busiest train stations have been reduced to ghost towns in the past year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has caused less traffic on trains, and there are questions being raised about how the lost income will be regained.
By the middle of 2021, the reduction of passengers on rail services may cost the Westminster Government approximately £10 billion.
Even though rail traffic is down by around 85%, customers have been hit by fare rises across England and Wales, and only 60% may return once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Fares have increased by around 2.6% and this is not due to inflation.
A season ticket from London to Brighton will rise by £128 annually, bringing the price to £5,108.
Though there is evidence to show rising fares across Britain, the Great Western Railway are refusing to acknowledge this.
The statement made by a member of the Great Western Railway states,
“Rail fares and any rise in fares are subject to Government policy; ultimately the Government decides on how best to fund the industry, and all revenue made is returned to them.”
“For a number of years that policy has been based on fare rises linked to the retail price index. I am not aware of any plans by the government to alter that, but they are best placed to say so – but it would seem an unlikely way to encourage transport.”
Raising fares may reduce customers using travel after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
This seems like the last thing rail companies want to happen.
Reporter Jack Friend asked a group of young people about this issue:
“When I do get the train, I find it way too expensive for what it is.”
“I think the trains are already too expensive for what they are, and I think, if there was a price hike, it would cause uproar.”
Article by: William Boardman