Helen Drury, Policy Advisor at BCSC, discusses the ramifications of increasing rail fares.
With the closing of the Olympics on Sunday, we seem to have definitely returned to pre-games life. On my commute into work on Monday morning, there were glum faces galore and a chaotic train service. The Olympic hangover has certainly set in.
However, announcements this week go beyond the resumption of service as normal - normal for the
While there is promise of improved service and sustainability of train services, this will not outweigh the impact on commuters. In addition, no matter how sustainable the trains are, if people are choosing the cheaper car alternative, this will in fact increase emissions. In fact, as fuel duty rises were scrapped last month in the infamous omni-shambles incident to help hard hit commuters, it gives the signal that this government is not the greenest ever, nor does it even to pertain to be anymore.
Sustainability of course encompasses not only the environmental aspects, but society and economy as well; and the impacts on these are perhaps greater than the environmental implications of people using their cars more. If people are priced out of using the train network, social exclusion will increase and social mobility will decrease. The Campaign for Better Transport has shown that towns and cities with good rail networks thrive more than those without as they have higher densities, bringing economic benefits as retailers service these populations.
So the Government needs to look at the bigger picture - rather than just the revenue gained from higher fares - of a