Commuters forking out nearly £10,000 as New Year fares hike hits home and rail companies rake in taxpayer subsidies
As the new year fast approaches austerity soaked commuters face yet more inflation busting fare rises averaging 2.2%. It will though see many season ticketholders pushed into the £5,000-a-year price bracket, while those commuting from Cheltenham Spa to London will have to fork out £9,704 – a 2.49% hike on the January 2014 figure.
And commuters are being slapped by a double whammy of fare rises and huge on-going government subsidies to the train operators in the universally recognised privatised railway shambles.
Private companies that simply use such subsidies to make inflation busting dividend payments to their shareholders, whether they be individuals or governments.
UK Taxpayers subsidy, on top of fares, came to just over £4 billion in 2012/13, of which the four most cushioned companies alone received over half.
Three of those companies are already foreign owned (German, French and Dutch) , with Scotrail about to become another part of the Dutch State operations from April 2015.
Government funding provided a mouth-watering 68.9% of income for the joint venture of failed outsourcing giant Serco and Dutch government owned Abellio who currently run the Northern Rail franchise (although the average across all train operating companies was a mere 31%).
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;
“As the travelling public gear up for the New Year fares hike RMT is blowing away the myth that the extra cash is invested back into services when in fact it combines with taxpayer subsidies to fuel a £4 billion privatised rail rip-off that is a one way ticket to the bank for the train companies.
“The scandal of the British people paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on clapped-out and overcrowded train will be compounded by the New Year’s average 2.2% increase, an increase which dwarfs average pay increases and which will hit the poorest the hardest.
“RMT’s New Year pledge is that this union will step up the fight against the privatised rail scandal that shames Britain and for a publicly-owned railway designed to meet demand, free from the greed and exploitation of the train companies.”
Net profits and dividend distribution rates for last five years, for the top four recipients of public subsidy in 2012/13
|Arriva train Wales
|Top five subsidised totals
|Total operating profit
2009 – 2013
Total TOC dividends 2009-2013
Subsidy in 2012/13
Figures are all taken from April 2014 ORR Railway Financial data and latest Company accounts from Companies House