View from a comedian: Bad time for a rail price hike

Steve Allen ponders the logic of encouraging people back to work with a fare hike.

Steve Allen ponders the logic of encouraging people back to work with a fare hike.

We are all being asked to get back to work.

The powers that be want to get the economy up and running again and for that we have to pack our briefcases, find something to wear on the lower half and head into the office.

The second step is actually harder than it looks. I’d packed away anything I hadn’t worn since winter and that included all trousers.

Given that they want us to commute it’s surprising that they have announced a potential train fare increase of 1.6 per cent.

It is because some ticket prices are linked to inflation in July. Won’t don’t we all stockpile in April stop buying anything and start again a few months later? It would push down ticket prices. In some ways it’s our own fault.

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They’re expecting us to travel in, having less time with our families, while wearing a mask and pay extra for the privilege. It sounds like 1.6pc more of a reason to keep working from home to me.

Independent watchdog Transport Focus has said train companies should change the way the ticket system works to reflect the change in our working patterns.

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Does that mean they want train companies to sell us tickets to our own homes?

They already do that, it’s called a return.

As we go back to work it is likely we’ll go in for two or three days a week but with a season ticket you’re paying as if you’d go in every weekday.

An annual Zone 2 Travelcard is already £1,444.

The period of recovery after a pandemic is a bad time for trains to price themselves out of our reach.

At the very least it feels like the price hike should be delayed.

If there’s one thing train companies are good at it’s delaying things.

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