Ben on: Train prices


So yeah, I changed the theme of my site yet AGAIN. The old new one wasn’t doing the website justice, and this one fits much more with the tone of the website. Anyway, time to rant!

This post serves as an open letter to all train companies in the UK, specifically, Northern Rail and Merseytravel, and the Ministry for Transport. This post regards the recent rise in train prices, and my disgust at the rises in price.

I learned, that from January 2nd 2014, the prices of my train fare would go up 2.8%, and they have. As an adult, in the terms of my rail provider, I now pay £1.70 for my train fare, which is a return trip from my home of Whiston, to Rainhill. This train ride is one stop. I have a 16-25 railcard, which cuts the price of my journey when off peak, I cannot use that on Mondays and Tuesdays, due to being in school for the mornings. I do however, use the card Wednesdays to Fridays, and before this rise in fare, my journey was 95p for a return, and this has now increased to £1.

As a casual customer for 11 years, and a loyal customer of 6 years, I believe these prices to be daylight robbery, and I believe that my readers would agree with me, that these prices are unfair and unjust. When I was 11 years old, a child’s return cost 65p, and when I was 15, it cost 80p, I know these prices have been steadily going up. I wasn’t happy with paying £1.60 for a return, but I stomached it. Now, we are in ridiculous prices, and It frustrates me.

I have resolved to sometimes hop on and not pay. Let’s face it, at these prices, the other customers have probably paid for my ticket (I joke, of course. We all know fare dodging is bad, but you get the point). My friend, Heather, who I was messaging on Facebook at the time I wrote this said to me

‘I only ever have to take the train once every three weeks to take my books back, so i can’t really give an experienced opinion but I’ve definitely noticed that they are expensive, and that they epitomise my discern for the way the lower classes [users of public transport] are being exploited by the government’

I agree with her. Speaking to my Granddad, who when he worked used to get the plane to London and back and it was cheaper than getting a train which even today would cost over £200 for some folks, he talked of Re-Nationalising the train companies, with us paying tax to keep them running, which I am all for, but I feel that the extra tax won’t go down too well with the public. So I drew up my own price system for the trains:

  • Child Single (one stop): 50p
  • Child’s return (one stop): 80p
  • Adult’s (18+) single (one stop): 90p
  • Adult’s (18+) return (one stop): £1.20
  • OAP (65+)/Students/Disabled single (one stop): 80p
  • OAP (65+)/Students/Disabled return (one stop): £1

Each stop you take, 10p gets added to the total. So, a return train from Whiston to Liverpool limestreet for an adult would cost around £2.40, because 10p is added to each station you pass. This would be a HELL of a lot cheaper for people, and may get more people using the train, which with Climate change and all, is a thing we all need to do to cut down the carbon footprint. In my mind, if I ran a company, I’d want more people using my service, so I would have reasonable prices to attract people to using my service over another service.

I also understand the need for money. This money  has been used on the trains recently, the chairs have been fixed, and the lighting improved, new tables have been fitted and there’s a lick of paint, and there are few delays now, but I also believe that if a company wants to make more money, it will treat its customers decently. I don’t think that is what Northern Rail are doing. Northern rail, get your act together.

About the author


Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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