Commuters in the UK could be spending over triple the amount on rail travel than their counterparts in France, Spain, Italy and Germany, according to the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
As part of the Action for Rail (AfR) campaign, lobbyists have compared the average earnings of those who use the train to get into work with the price of season tickets for similar European commuter routes.
The TUC has said that the fact that networks in the UK are privatised has made a huge difference when it comes to prices, especially when set side-by-side with the cost of publicly owned trains in some European nations.
In the AfR study, commuters in this country were found to spend an average of 14 per cent of their monthly earnings on their season ticket. This was much larger than the four per cent spent by people making comparable journeys in Germany and France, while Spanish commuters saw just three per cent of their salary taken up by travel per cent of their wages.
However, businesses that wish to help out struggling employees could do so by cutting the cost of travelling almost entirely by introducing remote working policies. Workers can make use of modern technology to base themselves from home, making the commute in to the office only when the absolutely have to. This could not only alleviate the financial strain, but could also lead to a more satisfactory work and life balance.
Mick Whelan, the general secretary of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen – which is the union for train drivers – said that passengers were “fed up” with “poor value”.
“We warned a year ago that more and more people are falling into transport poverty and these new figures make this point well,” he added. “It cannot be right that passengers are being forced – because they have no meaningful choice – to pay through the nose just to get to where they work.”