UK commuters pay six times more on train fares than European counterparts: study

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British workers are estimated to be paying over six times more on rail fares than commuters in Europe, according to a study from Action for Rail campaign group.

The typical commuter travelling into London is now spending 387 pounds ($474) on a monthly season ticket to and from work whereas the cost of a similar journey in France and Italy would amount to 61 pounds, according to Action for Rail's research.

"British commuters are forced to shell out far more on rail fares than others in Europe. Many will look with envy at the cheaper, publicly-owned services on the continent," Frances O'Grady, Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary said in a statement.


Political football

U.K. citizens witnessed a further hike to rail fares at an average increase of 2.3 percent on Tuesday. Train fares in Britain have now risen more than 56 percent over the past decade, more than double than the change in average earnings and inflation.

Action for Rail's research focused on journeys from similar distances in to capital cities around Europe. A U.K. worker travelling from Luton to London St. Pancras (35 miles) each month was projected to spend 14 percent of their monthly earnings commuting whereas a French worker would only need to spend 2 percent of their monthly earnings to reach Paris from Mantes-la-Jolie (34 miles).

Tony Murphy, national officer for the rail industry Unite, an influential union group in Britain and Ireland, accused the U.K. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling of viewing the railways in the country as a "political football".

"We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger. On average, 97% of every £1 of a passenger's fare goes back into the railway," Grayling said in a statement.

Protests against the increasing train fares in the U.K. are due to be held at more than 100 train stations on Tuesday.

"British passengers are paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed services while the private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank," Mick Cash, general secretary of National Union for Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said.

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