Rail fares set to rocket as foreign owners hike prices to keep domestic rates down, according to RMT research

 
Caitlin Morrison
Follow Caitlin
Rail Fare Increase Comes Into Effect
Rail fares are due to go up next month (Source: Getty)

Rail fares are set to rocket in the UK because foreign owners of the country's train services are charging higher prices here in order to keep costs low domestically, the RMT has claimed.

The rail union said research has shown "European owners of UK rail services rob passengers to hold down their domestic fares".

Secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling said fares will go up from next January by no more than the retail prices index (RPI), which will be published by the Office for National Statistics next month. However, the union said: "As this is predicted to come in at between three and four per cent, passengers will still face big increases."

RMT also said passengers in the UK travelling on services in the UK operated by Italian, German and Dutch state railways are "shelling out multiples of what their counterparts elsewhere in the EU are paying for comparable journeys on the continent run by the same operator".

The union offered the following examples from its research:
  • Passengers in the UK travelling on Italian state owned C2C railways are paying 2.4 times more than their counterparts on similar services run by the same operator in Italy;
  • Passengers in the UK travelling on German state owned Arriva North railways are paying a third more than their counterparts on similar services run by the same operator in Germany; and
  • Passengers in the UK travelling on Dutch state owned Greater Anglia railways are paying twice as much as their Dutch counterparts on similar services run by the same operator in The Netherlands.

Read more: Who owns the UK's railways?

"UK rail passengers should be bracing themselves for the fare hike announcement next month. As inflation is running high, it will be yet more grim news for workers struggling to make ends meet," said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

To add insult to injury, passengers travelling on lines in the UK operated by Italian, German and Dutch state railways, could be paying around two and a half times more than their counterparts on comparable journeys on the continent run by the same operator.

"That means UK passengers on our clapped out privatised railway, are paying more and more to help keep fares down on other European railways. It is a national scandal that this government is perpetuating by allowing more foreign state owned outfits to bid for British rail services, while simultaneously blocking any British public ownership of our railways."

Related articles