•   
  •   

UK News Rail fares increased across Britain despite low demand for travel

05:40  01 march  2021
05:40  01 march  2021 Source:   pressassociation.com

Met Office weather warnings: Alerts issued as up to EIGHT inches of rain to smash UK TODAY

  Met Office weather warnings: Alerts issued as up to EIGHT inches of rain to smash UK TODAY THE MET OFFICE has issued several new severe weather warnings with a chance of flooding and disruption to transport and utilities over the weekend.The most severe weather warning is an amber rain warning which is in effect from 8pm on Friday until 6pm on Saturday.

Rail passengers in England and Wales have been hit by above inflation fare rises despite the collapse in demand.

text, letter: Rail passengers in England and Wales have been hit by above inflation fare rises despite the collapse in demand (Ben Birchall/PA) © Ben Birchall Rail passengers in England and Wales have been hit by above inflation fare rises despite the collapse in demand (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ticket prices have increased by around 2.6%, leading to accusations that the UK Government is “pricing the railways out of existence”.

The figure represents the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation from July 2020, plus one percentage point.

The Scottish Government has imposed smaller rises of 1.6% and 0.6% for peak and off-peak travel respectively.

Former Scheuer spokesman goes to Deutsche Bahn

 Former Scheuer spokesman goes to Deutsche Bahn The former spokesman for Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU), Wolfgang Ainetter, goes to Deutsche Bahn. © Michael Kappeler / dpa From politics to the state-owned company: Ex-Scheuer spokesman Wolfgang Ainetter becomes the rail special representative for the “European Year of the Rails”.

Examples of the potential fare hikes include a Brighton-London annual season ticket going up by £129 to £5,109 and a Manchester-Glasgow off-peak return rising by £2.30 to £90.60.

chart, bar chart: (PA Graphics) © Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

Exact prices will be released on Monday.

Demand for rail travel has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic, with passenger numbers currently down 85% on normal levels.

Network Rail boss Sir Peter Hendy said last week that the volume of journeys by commuters may only recover to 60% of what it was before the outbreak.

Fare rises in England have mirrored RPI since January 2014, but the Department for Transport (DfT) axed the policy due to the “unprecedented taxpayer support” handed to the rail industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite Corona: Travel industry wants to make summer holidays possible this year

 Despite Corona: Travel industry wants to make summer holidays possible this year Germany's tour operators are hoping for a wave of travel for the summer season despite the continued high Corona numbers. After a year of crisis, mass rapid tests and a digital vaccination card are supposed to bring about an urgently needed turnaround in tourism. According to the German Travel Association (DRV), the losses caused by Corona are increasingly troubling companies in view of the months-long lockdown.

The UK, Scottish and Welsh governments took over rail franchise agreements from train operators in March 2020, following the collapse in demand for travel caused by the virus crisis.

This is expected to cost the Westminster Government alone around £10 billion by mid-2021.

Fares usually become more expensive on the first working day of every year, but the 2021 rise was deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite summer bookings, tourism industry expects tough year

 Despite summer bookings, tourism industry expects tough year After the historic slump in the Corona crisis year 2020, the German travel industry is preparing for further hard times and is largely writing off the current tourism year economically. © Tamara Rozas / Europapress / dpa A waiter serves two customers on the terrace of a bar in the center of Madrid.

Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture, described the increase as “the usual annual punishment for rail passengers, just slightly delayed”.

He claimed the UK Government “should be encouraging the public to start using trains again” when lockdown restrictions ease.

“But instead they’re gradually pricing the railways out of existence,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense to kick the rail industry when it’s down.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady warned that the increase in the cost of rail travel “will not help commuters and city centres recover from the pandemic”.

The Latest: UK students off to class backed by virus tests

  The Latest: UK students off to class backed by virus tests LONDON — British children are gearing up to return to school on Monday after a two-month closure, part of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson said was a plan to get the country to “start moving closer to a sense of normality.” As part of the plan, millions of high school and college students coming back to U.K. classrooms will be tested for the first few weeks. Authorities want to quickly detect and isolate asymptomatic cases in order to avoid sending entire schools home.“We are being cautious in our approach so that we do not undo the progress we have made so far,” Johnson said as he urged people to get vaccinated.

She said: “The Government needs a credible plan for the future of rail that gives passengers better value.”

The Liberal Democrats’ transport spokesperson Sarah Olney called for responsibility for setting rail fares to be handed to a new independent Railway Agency mandated to keep prices low.

She said: “It is appalling that yet again people are being hit by another grossly unfair Government-approved hike in rail fares.”

Rises in around half of fares – including season tickets on most commuter routes – are regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.

Train operators determine increases in unregulated fares such as Advance tickets, but this year they are heavily linked to rises in regulated tickets as governments have taken on firms’ financial liabilities.

That means the overall average increase across England and Wales is around 2.6%.

A DfT spokeswoman noted that this is the lowest rise in four years “despite unprecedented taxpayer support for the rail industry”.

She went on: “By delaying the change in fares, passengers who needed to renew season tickets were able to get a better deal, and we will set our further plans to offer cheaper, more flexible tickets for commuters in due course.”

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said it is up to the Government to decide “how much it wants passengers to pay towards the cost of running the railway”.

He added that train operators want to give passengers “better value” by working with ministers to create a “new, more flexible” ticketing system.

Ministers urged to take 'active role' in protecting thousands of steel jobs .
Ministers have been urged to take an "active role" in protecting thousands of jobs at Britain's third largest steel firm after the collapse of a major finance provider. © PA Unions met Liberty boss Sanjeev Gupta Unions issued the plea after a meeting with Liberty Steel boss Sanjeev Gupta.Mr Gupta's GFG Alliance, which owns Liberty, admitted that the collapse of Greensill Capital into administration had created a "challenging situation" but said it had "adequate funding for our current needs".

usr: 3
This is interesting!