UK commuters spend far more on rail fares than other European workers 0

Crowded commuteAt  1.1 percent the New Year rail fare increases are the lowest since 2010, but UK rail commuters still spend up to six times as much of their salaries on rail fares as European passengers, new analysis has revealed. Action for Rail, a campaign by rail unions and the TUC, has compared average earnings with monthly season tickets on similar commuter routes across Europe. The analysis looked at a UK worker on an average salary who is now spending 13 percent of their monthly wages on a £357.90 monthly season ticket from Chelmsford to London. By contrast, the average amount of salary going on a monthly season ticket for a similar journey is just 2 percent in Italy, 3 percent in Spain and 4 percent in Germany. Even in France, which is the closest to the UK for cost, commuters still spend nearly a third (30 percent) less on season tickets than their counterparts in the UK.

Country Monthly season ticket  percent of monthly median earnings
UK £358 13 percent
Germany £95 4 percent
France £234 10 percent
Italy £37 2 percent
Spain £56 3 percent


TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s hardly surprising that UK passengers think rail travel is bad value for money. They are shelling out far more of their income on rail fares than their counterparts in Europe.

Added TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes: “Profit made on passengers in the UK is not reinvested here, but repatriated to Germany, France, Belgium and Hong Kong to subsidise journeys of passengers there. We need a railway for the future – that means a publicly owned rail service operating in the interests of British passengers, with every penny made in profit reinvested in the railways or in cheaper fares for passengers.“