Commuters across the Midlands faced fresh rail fare increases as they return to work in 2018, now spending up to 5 times as much of their salary on tickets as passengers on the continent, according to new TUC research.
UK workers on average salaries will have to fork out around
11% of their pay to travel from Shrewsbury to Stafford (£318/month).
Telford to Birmingham costs over 6% of pay (£175/month)
By contrast, comparable commutes would cost a mere 2% of the average salary in France, 3% in Italy, 4% in Germany, and 5% in Spain and Belgium.
Wages are set to grow by only 2.6% in 2018, while season tickets will go up by 3.6% - over a third faster than wages.
TUC Midlands, Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:
“A new year, but the same old story, with rail commuters yet again facing rip off price rises. Wages are already stretched, and this latest increase will further eat into the pay packets of commuters across the Midlands.
What’s more, it doesn't need to be this way. Commuters across Europe have access to reasonably-priced travel on public railways and it’s about time that we had a change of approach and gave commuters a break.
“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.”
The Alternative... http://actionforrail.org/our-alternative-2/
Thursday 30th March 2017 - 9 volunteers came out campaigning for RMT Save Our Guards. Wolverhampton TUC joined RMT involving UNISON, Unite, FBU and NUT members.
The campaign has come about as a result of the recent Department of Transport announcement regarding the future of train service throughout the West Midlands and West Coast routes. The Union believes that government plans represent a clear danger in form of: reduced service levels; reduced passenger safety; increased fares; introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO); cuts to staffing; reduced safety standards; an attack on terms and conditions of employment; slashing of pension benefits; reduced mobility and access; limited investment in new rolling stock or maintenance, to be followed by the habitual introduction of a casualised workforce.
Message of thanks received from Ken Usher Midlands RMT Secretary "Many thanks to all who attended today’s event in Wolverhampton which I am sure will be appreciated by those members of the travelling public and those who work within the industry. I salute your efforts all round."
The campaign https://www.rmt.org.uk/campaigns/rail/safe-trains-for-all/ focuses on five key areas to:
* Save Our Services
* Save Our Guards
* Save Our Station Staff
* Save Our Engineers
* Save Our Cleaning & Maintenance teams
Various passenger surveys over the years reveal on average that 82% of the travelling public and regular rail users would like to see the Railways re-nationalised in order to provide for a fully integrated railway network that is operated in the most clean, safe, accessible, reliable, efficient and affordable manner possible as an asset to the UK.
Regrettably, as a result of the recent Department of Transport announcement regarding the future of train service throughout the West Midlands and West Coast routes, and hidden away within the hundreds of pages containing tens of thousands of words, was a real and clear danger to service levels, passenger safety, increased fares, introduction of Driver Only Operation (DOO), cuts to staffing, reduced mobility and access, limited investment and the introduction of casualisation. This is in order to increase profits and dividends and to subsidise the French railway network and its passengers. Accordingly passenger’s hopes and aspirations have been dashed by Government ideology and dogma.
Your Guards are in charge of the train :
They don’t just check or sell tickets or control doors. Each one is specially trained to the highest safety critical standards in accordance with the Railway Rulebook and regulations.
Each one knows how to deal with all manner of emergency situations from on-board fires, providing first aid and resuscitation or even passenger information, what some would call the “run of the mill” duties. Your Guards however, also possess all of the skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks associated with working on electrified lines, track safety, for dealing with various on-train incidents or accidents. But above all your guard is there to ensure the safe and effective evacuation of passengers within a dangerous environment, particularly where the Driver has been incapacitated.
That is why every two years, your guards are required to re-sit periodic exams to ensure that they retained these skills and knowledge and remain competent to carry them out in full.
Unfortunately, the Government and the private rail operators – in a rush to increase profits, dividends and bonuses for senior executives – are proposing to scrap these skills leading to a less safe, less customer focused railway. Be warned , it is coming soon !
Your Station & Booking Office staff:
All of these grades of staff are fully trained to provide you, the passenger, with the best possible advice for train and connection times together with best value ticketing options. They can also provide assistance to passengers with visual impairments, disabilities, mobility issues for access and egress at stations and on/off trains, or just comfort and support in an uncertain and often unforgiving environment!
The Government and the private rail companies want to see a serious and speedy reduction in both the number of staffed stations along with reduced opening times of others at key locations. Staff will be replaced by automatic ticket vending machines that provide only a small range of ticket options, generally at the highest cost to the passenger. This is no good for you as it takes away the human factor and contact for vulnerable members of our communities and society. Station staff provide the link to emergency services, so who’s going to call when they are gone? If those machines are not working for whatever reason you could be charged either a full priced ticket or penalty fare? Be warned, it is coming soon!
Train maintenance and reliability :
Each train that you travel on has been maintained to the highest standards by well-trained, highly skilled, safety critical engineers who work around the clock 24/7 to keep your train working to its maximum, so as to provide and operate a safe, efficient and comfortable service for you, the travelling public. Your train maintenance engineers take that role and responsibility very seriously! From wheels, brakes, engines or gearboxes, traction motors, lights, electricals, doors and locks, toilet systems to fire extinguishers, the maintenance teams keep your trains on track. However, the Government and the private rail operators want to lessen the maintenance standards through reduced regulation, which will only lead to more train failures or rolling stock availability in order to save money. Be warned, it is coming soon!
On-train and station cleanliness :
Passengers have a right to be able to access a clean and safe environment throughout our rail networks. That is why your train is cleaned throughout the day, either whilst on depot or out in traffic, with mobile teams making sure that those pesky discarded “metro’s” are recycled, that table-tops are cleaned and toilets are sanitised and fit for use. Also that station platforms and waiting rooms/shelters are clear of rubbish and waste, that the lights are working throughout the station and car parks (where available) and, during winter periods, that platforms are free of snow or ice. The Government and private rail operators would rather outsource these requirements to the lowest priced tender which will result in the loss of jobs, a serious reduction in cleanliness, safety and security standards at all locations and especially on trains!
Be warned, it is coming soon!
Under the Tories, rail fares have risen by a third. Fares are rising three times faster than wages and West Midland commuters have been hit with price increases of up to £840 for their annual season tickets. Virgin Train’s Birmingham to London route has seen the fifth highest rise of any in the country over the period, going up 27% from £8,028 to £10,200.
videos of interviews of Rob Marris MP & Nick Kelleher Sec, Wolverhampton Bilston & District Trades Union Council
Rail fares up yet again in January 2017. Enough is enough. Passengers are now contributing about 70% of industry funding. It’s a double whammy. As taxpayers, we continue to fund the vast majority of investment in our railways. Meanwhile, private train companies are paying out larger dividends to shareholders (a 21% increase in 2014-15 compared to the previous year), Network Rail’s income from these companies fell by around £500m in 2014-15, and by cutting staff, companies are saving even more money.
Women passengers, older passengers, and passengers with disabilities have raised concerns about cuts to staffing and services, such as ticket office closures and more driver only trains, and they have supported our calls for proper staffing. We want a railway that is safe, inclusive and accessible for all.
Wolves TUC, ASLEF, RMT in conjunction with Action for Rail organised action 7am-9am @ Wolverhampton railway station on Tuesday 16 August 2016 for an affordable railway under public ownership. This was the day that the government announced yet another hike in our rail fares. Services are often late, overcrowded and under-staffed. Passengers and taxpayers are being asked to pay an ever increasing price for the failures of rail privatisation. While fares keep rising, cuts to services and staffing are taking place across the network – with more ticket offices closing, removal of guards from trains, extension of driver only operated trains and fewer staff at stations to provide help when we need it. We’re paying more, but getting less.
events took place around Britain on the 16 August http://actionforrail.org/campaigners-call-for-public-ownership-and-affordable-fares-as-train-fares-rise-twice-as-fast-as-wages/
Public ownership of rail could deliver cheaper fares. If the lines up for renewal this parliament were taken back into public ownership, that could save around £1.5bn – which could fund a 10 per cent cut in season tickets and other regulated fares from 2017. A third (£520m) of this £1.5bn saving would come from recouping the money private train companies pay in dividends to their shareholders.
The inflation figure used to calculate increases in regulated fares, like season tickets and commuter fares, saver and standard returns, will be announced on 16 August. The new fare prices will come into force in January 2017.
Network Rail is staying in public ownership!
The government's Shaw Report which was considering 'full privatisation' has concluded:
“The report team has dismissed privatisation of the whole company…The report team is not recommending the introduction of private sector capital at the whole company level, recognising that, for the foreseeable future, Network Rail ownership will remain in the public sector.”
This is great news! It’s not the whole answer. Network Rail is still planning to sell off assets like railway stations so we need to keep fighting. But it's an important victory.
Why do we campaign? – because sometimes it works!
Wolves TUC co-ordinated ASLEF, RMT, UNISON & UNITE members in another Action for Rail event at Wolverhampton Station as rail fares rose again, calling for an affordable railway under public ownership. 1,000 commuters leafleted with postcards for MPs on 4th January 2016 from 7am. We were joined by Wolverhampton South West MP Rob Marris, himself a UNITE member.
Rail fares rose again on 2 January, yet the cost of living doesn’t get any cheaper.
Commuters in the UK are spending up to 6x as much of their wages on rail fares than passengers using publicly-owned railways in France, Germany, Spain and Italy – according to new analysis published by Action for Rail.
Over the last five years fares have risen nearly three times faster than average wages and British passengers continue to pay much higher fares than passengers on publicly-owned railways in Europe. Services are often overcrowded, late and under-staffed, while our heavily subsidised privatised railway wastes over £1billion a year.
Similar events took place at other railway stations across the country http://actionforrail.org/campaigners-take-action-to-end-railripoff/#sthash.idD5MtCU.dpuf, calling for an affordable railway under public ownership.
The high costs of the UK’s privatised railways are reflected by public opinion. A separate new poll for Action for Rail of 1,719 British adults by YouGov found that: 61% say train services in the UK are bad value for money 62% think that fares would be cheaper if train companies weren’t trying to make a profit 62% support public ownership of train operating companies.
Although the government has pledged to cap rail fare rises to inflation for this parliament, fares will still go up by one per cent in January 2016, making already exorbitant season tickets a cost too much to bear for most passengers. The Department for Transport’s own figures reveals the cost of the cap to taxpayers will be £700m over the parliament.
Take Action Now: Ask your MP to support an affordable railway under public ownership
Rail fares are going up again in January, yet season tickets and other regulated fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages over the last five years, according to new analysis by Action for Rail.
The government plans to cap rises in regulated rail fares at inflation for this parliament, but you’re still paying for this through your taxes. The cost of the cap to taxpayers is £700m, according to Department for Transport figures.
Yet your season ticket could be 10 per cent cheaper by 2017 if rail lines up for renewal in this parliament were run by the public sector, as this would save £1.5bn – according to independent research. £520m of this saving would come from recouping the money that private train companies pay in shareholder dividends.
Please support our call for an affordable national railway under public ownership, that puts people before profit!
The Act ion for Rail campaign organised an action early morning Tuesday 18 August 2015, when the government announced the July inflation figure that will set the price increases from Jan 2016 for regulated fares.
Wolves TUC, ASLEF, UNITE, UNISON, NUT and Peoples Assembly members handed out action cards out to 1,000 commuters to send to MPs
– these say ‘ Public ownership of the railways could fund a 10% reduction in regulated fares’
Every year, privatisation wastes over £1bn – with money leaking out in areas such as shareholder dividends, company profits, and costs arising from fragmentation of our railways. In 2013-14, taxpayers contributed £3.8bn to the rail network, while private train companies paid out £183m in dividends to shareholders! We now have the most expensive fares in Europe.
Privatisation has failed. It is time for radical reform of our railways. We need a system that benefits passengers, taxpayers, the economy and environment. Public ownership would create a much fairer and more efficient system, leading to huge savings for taxpayers and passengers. Public ownership could fund a 10 per cent year-on-year reduction in regulated fares (e.g. season tickets and any-time day tickets) from 2017-18. Please support our campaign for a railway that puts people before profit.
The government is now subsiding railways (and the franchises) MORE than when British Rail was de-nationalised.
Take rail back into public hands and stop subsidising private rail shareholders. They can be taken back in stages for FREE by not renewing private franchises.
A new directive coming out of the EC could impose privatisation on rail services in every EU state. This will make it impossible for any UK government to change our failed privatised model and run things differently. We need to take action to stop these new regulations Take action now
Here you will find a range of resources providing comprehensive analysis of the rail industry and government rail policy.
Rebuilding Rail – Produced by Transport for Quality of Life, this report provides a major analysis of the UK rail industry and sets out a route to bring our rail system back to world-leading standards.
Rail Command Paper: Action for Rail briefing – This briefing provides an overview and an analysis of the recommendations of the government’s Rail Command Paper published in March 2012
McNulty Review: Action for Rail briefing – This briefing provides our analysis of the recommendations of the Rail Value for Money Study carried out by Sir Roy McNulty.
What does the future of railway staffing mean for disabled and older passengers – Produced in partnership with Transport for All, the National Pensioners Convention and Disabled People Against Cuts, this report looks at how proposals to cut 14,000 jobs from stations and trains will impact on older and disabled passengers.
The Four Big Myths of UK Rail Privatisation – This short Action for Rail report collates available evidence to comprehensively debunk the big ‘myths’ of rail privatisation in the UK, showing that on every count it has been a failure.
Towards Public Ownership – A TUC summary report based on research carried out by Transport for Quality of Life. The research shows that £1.5bn could be saved over the next five years (2015 – 2020) if routes, including the Northern, Transpennine and West Coast Main Line, were operated by the public sector. The Treasury would also be able to pass on massive savings to commuters in the form of far cheaper tickets.
The Bring Back British Rail campaign was founded in 2009 to popularise the idea of taking our railways back into public ownership - a commonsense policy which would save taxpayers more than £1bn a year. We will keep the pressure up under this new government, especially now public debate is beginning to shift, with two of the potential Labour leaders coming out in support of our campaign.
Here are a few ways to get involved over the summer months:
① Join the Day of Action on 18 August! We are teaming up with Action For Rail and We Own It to organise our annual protest against rip-off rail fares. Join actions outside stations all over the country. Full details here >
② Post a letter to your MP (the easy way)! Bring Back British Rail trialing the new Mr Postman App, which allows you to post a hard copy letter to your MP for FREE. Please give it a go! www.bringbackbritishrail.org/postaletter
③ Sign our petition to STOP the Break-Up & Privatisation of Network Rail! Help prevent yet more dangerous fragmentation and privatisation of our rail network by signing this new petition.https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/networkrail
④ Start your own local campaign group! See below for details of our new 'franchises' initiative to use our network of over 100,000 people to support local activists and campaigns.
Thirteen of the twenty current rail franchises come up for renewal during this parliament and we must work hard to demand that they are not re-privatised against our will (with contracts of up to 25 years!)
In response, Bring Back British Rail is launching its own 'franchises'. Our aim is to encourage and support a network of grassroots campaigns around the country each targeting a different private Train Operating Company in the run up to its franchise end: highlighting its failures and inefficiencies and promoting public ownership as the commonsense alternative.
We need you! Below is a list of the Train Operating Companies in most pressing need of local campaigns. If you rely on any of these services regularly and believe they should be returned to public hands, then please get involved!
- October 2015: Northern Rail
- October 2015: First TransPennine Express
- June 2016: Abellio Greater Anglia
- November 2016: Virgin Trains
- November 2016: London Overground
- February 2017: London Midland
- June 2017: East Midlands Trains
- February 2018: Southeastern
- June 2018: Arriva Trains Wales
- November 2018: First Great Western
- December 2018: South West Trains
- July 2019: CrossCountry
- August 2021: Chiltern Railways
(dates show when new contracts will be awarded)
Please spread the word! www.bringbackbritishrail.org/franchises
On 31 March and 1st April 2015, trade union activists and campaigners, coordinated by Action for Rail, took action at stations across the country, calling for a publicly owned rail network that puts people before profit.
Six volunteers from ASLEF, UNISON & WB&DTUC leafleted 1,500 morning commuters 7-9am at Wolverhampton Railway station
Railway protests on January 5th 2015 , called for Public Ownership and Sustainable transport after new year train fare increases again above the rate of inflation. We already have some of the most expensive fares and the most fragmented service in Europe.
Between 1997 -2012 Virgin Trains’ West Coast Mainline paid £500 million in dividends after pocketing £2,500 million in subsidies. By contrast, the publicly owned East Coast Mainline has returned nearly £1,000 million to the government since 2009.
The arguments for public ownership are overwhelming.
The environmental case for switching to rail and other public transport is also overwhelming.
Hence, with the support of Action for Rail, the Peoples Assembly is teaming up with the Campaign against Climate Change, Bring Back British Rail, the Green Party and a variety of other groups to organise leafleting of commuters at railways stations.
Later that week the Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, will be presenting her private members bill calling for public ownership of railways.
Rail fares are going up again. Since 2008, fareshave risen four times faster than average wages. Enough is enough!
We need an affordable railway under public ownership that puts people before profit.
Regulated fares would have risen even more this year, if the government hadn’t capitulated to public pressure to cap last year’s rise to inflation only, after several years of inflation-busting rises.
Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/360862324062655
On 19 August campaigners protested against the fare rise at stations across the UK and calling for a publicly owned railway – to deliver a better deal for passengers and taxpayers.
In Europe, publicly owned railways have lower fares, are more efficient, and profits are reinvested back into the service. Publicly owned East Coast Main Line is a success story, and in 2012/13 returned £16m to the UK Treasury.
For privatised rail services, it’s a different picture. We have the highest fares in Europe with profits extracted to pay shareholder dividends. In 2012/13 Northern Rail, Transpennine Express and Virgin alone paid almost £100m in dividends to shareholders after receiving over £1bn in public subsidy. Evidence shows that about £1bn per year is wasted due to privatisation, and if saved, this could fund an 18 per cent cut in fares.
Our railways are vital to our economy and the environment. Demand is set to rise in the coming decades, so bold steps are needed now.
Please support our call for an affordable national railway under public ownership, that puts people before profit.
Take Action Now: Ask your MP to support an affordable railway under public ownership
The new fare prices will come into force in January 2015 and, even if capped at the new level of inflation, they’ll still be well above increases in earnings for most of us.
Action for Rail staged a number of protests/events throughout the length and breadth of the UK rail network.
Action for Rail WOLVERHAMPTON
- from 7:30am 1,500 postcards were handed out for Wolverhampton train station commuters to send to MPs demanding re-nationalisation by RMT, ASLEF, Wolverhampton TUC and Peoples Assembly members
The RMT backed Action for Rail has published the findings of a survey highlighting the disastrous impact that the government’s transport cuts will have on disabled and older passengers.
Amongst its findings the survey shows that disabled passengers hugely value the availability of staff on trains and at stations. 39% of disabled passengers say that they rely on staff assistance, a further 32% found it helpful. Key benefits that staff provide include enhancing personal safety and security, providing travel information, buying tickets and help access facilities and getting on and off trains.
Action for Rail point out that the government, through its Access Action Plan, have asked all train operators to produce Disabled Person’s Protection Plans (DPPPs) to demonstrate how they will broaden access to the railways for disabled passengers. Yet at the same time, proposals in the McNulty review, endorsed by both the government and rail operators, indicates that there could be cuts to tens of thousands of guards, stations and ticket office staff on whom disabled passengers rely.
A postcard campaign based on the findings of the survey supports the demand for a rail service that puts people before profit and the needs of the passengers first.
Bob Crow RMT General Secretary
Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council helped organise 14 volunteers from RMT, UNITE, UNISON & ASLEF who gave out over 1,000 postcards to send to MPs between 6.30 and 8.30am at Wolverhampton Railway Station on 27th March 2013 - a great response.
To protest against frontline job cuts and raili fare increases on the 50th anniversary of the Beeching report which closed over half of british railways.
This campaign is backed by the TUC, RMT, ASLEF, TSSA and UNITE.
A railway that puts people before profit: read the more about the Alternative,
The British public consistently support the re-nationalisation of Britain's railways. UK railways need reform. Privatisation of our railways has led to a fragmented and dysfunctional system.
Since privatisation, more than £11 billion of public funds has been misspent: on debt write-offs, dividend payments to private investors, fragmentation costs including profit margins of complex tiers of contractors and sub-contractors, and higher interest payments in order to keep Network Rail’s debts off the government balance sheet.
At the same time, privatisation has failed to deliver on its promises. Genuine private investment makes an insignificant contribution to the railways, representing about one per cent of the total money that goes into the railway each year. Our fares are among the highest in Europe, many of our services are overcrowded and rely on obsolete rolling stock.
We need a railway that delivers for people before profit.
In most European countries apart from Britain, the tracks and other infrastructure are publicly-owned and there is also a publicly-owned train operator that provides the majority of passenger train services.
We believe that the UK government should replace the current fragmented system with a publicly owned railway that makes sure that the system operates as a coherent whole, including:
- Bringing train operating companies back into the public sector (which can be done at no cost as franchises expire or fail
- Bringing Network Rail into public ownership, thereby significantly reducing debt servicing costs.
- Shifting from the expensive and wasteful rolling stock leasing system to buying trains outright and using government purchasing to support UK train building.
Save Our Railways -Trade Union Briefing on why the government should reject the McNulty report read it here.......
The McNulty report was commissioned by the government to "improve value for money to passengers and the taxpayer."
But the report's recommendations are a false economy which will worsen services to passengers and short change the taxpayer.
• the loss of tens of thousands of frontline workers such as train guards, station and ticket office staff, as well as safety critical infrastructure and operational workers
• even greater commercial freedom for train operators, higher fares, cuts in services, and more crowded trains
• the breakup of Network Rail and an end to its ‘not-for-dividend’ status, which will make the railway more fragmented and inefficient and will put profit before safety.
McNulty ignores lessons from railways in Europe which have achieved lower costs and fares through a more unified structure than Britain’s fragmented railways. And of course it has been the unco-ordinated short termism of our railways that has put the UK’s last train manufacturer in Derby on the brink of closure