The new year marks the biggest increase in rail fares in five years, whilst current trains are the oldest since records began.
Fares will rise by an average of 3.4% this month with season tickets going up by 3.6% – increases that outstrip average pay rises last year by 50%, unions have said.
Commuters on average earnings would spend between 10% and 20% of their take-home pay on train travel, the RMT has found.
Further, fares have increased by 24.5% since the public sector pay freeze started in 2011, a period in which the pay of 5 million workers including NHS staff and teachers has gone up by just over 5%.
At the same time, figures from the Office of Rail and Road show that Britain’s current trains are the oldest since records began, according to Press Association analysis, with passengers typically travelling in carriages built in the mid-1990s.
The Campaign for Better Transport said it showed “just how far the railways have to go to modernise”. Trains in London and south-east England are typically 18 years old, while those on regional services are 24 years old.
Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, joined campaigners across the city’s train stations to listen to commuter concerns over the hike in rail fares and reliability of local services.
“This year’s fare rise is the highest for five years. At a time when wages aren’t increasing, and there’s real frustration from Portsmouth commuters about this.
In the past 8 years we’ve seen the cost of a season ticket from Portsmouth to Southampton has gone up £504.00, that’s a staggering 28%.
Our nation’s rail system is too fragmented and complex and run for the profit of private enterprises, not in the public’s interest.
That’s why we need a better deal for our rail. I’m actively campaigning on this important issue for so many local families and nationally pushing the Government to finally act”.