1. ITV Report

Region-wide protests take place over highest rail ticket price rise in five years

Protestors at Weston-super-Mare station this morning. Photo: ITV West Country

Demonstrations have taken place at railway stations across the West Country, including at Bristol and Plymouth, in protest of the highest fare increase since 2013.

Unions say ticket prices are going up well over inflation by an average of 3.4%.

A season ticket from Gloucester to Birmingham will now cost £4,108 - £140 more, while one for Weston-super-Mare to Bristol will now be £1,940 - up by £64.

Rail commuters are spending up to five times as much of their salary on season tickets as passengers on the continent, a new study has revealed.

The Trades Union Congress say season tickets will increase a third faster than wages in 2018.

Below is the price of a local 12-month season ticket purchased last year compared to one bought now, as well as the increase value:

  • Barnstaple to Exeter - £2,008 - £2,080 - £72
  • Neath to Cardiff - £1,652 - £1,708 - £56
  • Gloucester to Birmingham - £3,968 - £4,108 - £140
  • Weston-super-Mare to Bristol - £1,876 - £1,940 - £64
Rail passengers are being hit with the largest fare rise in five years. Credit: PA

The TUC said workers travelling from Chelmsford in Essex to London will have to pay 13% of their salary for a £381 monthly season ticket.

That compares with 2% for a comparable commute of around 30 miles in France (£66), 3% in Italy (£65), 4% in Germany (£118) and 5% in Spain (£108) and Belgium (£144).

Season tickets will increase a third faster than wages in 2018, said the TUC.

Another year, another price increase. Many commuters will look with envy to their continental cousins, who enjoy reasonably priced journeys to work.

Employers can help out by offering zero-interest season ticket loans, or offering more flexible work hours and locations.

But ultimately the Government need to take our railways back into public hands. That will stop hundreds of millions being siphoned off by private rail firms, and allow us to put passengers first."

– Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary
Protests took place at train stations around the country. Credit: PA

The Government says rises for this year are capped in line with inflation, with 97p out of every pound paid going back to the railway.

A Department for Transport spokesman said:

"We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian times to improve services for passengers - providing faster and better, more comfortable trains with extra seats.

"This includes the first trains running though London on the Crossrail project, an entirely new Thameslink rail service and continuing work on the transformative Great North Rail Project.

"We keep fare prices under constant review and the price rises for this year are capped in line with inflation, with 97p out of every £1 paid going back into the railway."