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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington


Rail fares in the UK the most expensive in Europe

March 14, 2005 12:00 AM

New figures showing Britain's railways are the most expensive in Europe make this year's inflation-busting rail fares look even more unfair, says Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake.

Tom Brake said: "Rail passengers travelling on Southern and Thameslink faced increases of around 4.5% this year, well above the rates of inflation.

"Our rail travellers are being forced to pay today, for a promise of improvements tomorrow.

"Rail fares have been held down in the past because of poor service. Now commuters are going to have to pay for bad management and years of under-investment, with no guarantees of a better service.

"Britain's railways are already the most expensive in Europe, with research by the Liberal Democrats revealing that £10 will only take passengers 25 miles on the UK railway system.

"A tenner goes further on most European railways. You can travel more than seven times as far in Italy, and over four times as far in Portugal for the same money. In the Czech Republic you can travel over 10 times as far on the railway as you can in the UK. Yet with this year's fare rises the gap looks like it will widen further still.

"The question that the Government and Southern and Thameslink Rail Companies must answer is, how many years will we see inflation-busting fare rises before our railways are safe, reliable and affordable?"