Brits spend more on commuting than European workers

2 January 2014

British rail commuters could be spending over three times more of their salary on getting to work than their peers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Taking into account the New Year fare increases - regulated rail fares rise between 3.1 and 5.1% from today - a UK worker earning an average salary of around £27,000 who spends nearly £299 on a monthly season ticket from St Albans to London St Pancras is paying out 14% of their salary to get to work.

That compares rather depressingly to the continent, where workers making similar journeys in France and Germany spend around 4% of their wages on train fares. In Spain that falls to 3% and in Italy 1%.

The TUC’s and rail union’s Action for Rail (AfR) campaign, which compiled the research, points out that rail fares are more expensive in the UK where rail services are privatised and cheaper in Europe where are publicly-owned.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: "Rail passengers and taxpayers are being poorly served by a privatised rail service that has failed to deliver any of the efficiency, investment and cost savings that privatisation cheerleaders promised.

"While the shareholders of the private train operating companies are doing well for themselves on the back of massive public subsidies, passengers are paying the highest share of their wages on rail fares in Europe. Rail passengers must wonder why they can’t have the same cheap and more efficiently run state rail services that exist elsewhere in Europe."

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