Saturday, August 04, 2007

Let the Train Take the Strain

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of so called "green taxes", but I'm in favour of the Liberal Democratic party's plans to put an extra £10 tax per ticket on internal flights in Britain to help fund improvements to the rail network.

I was interested in this because I've just been researching the cost of taking my family to London for a two-day break. If we travelled by train, the cheapest tickets I could find cost a whopping £787. But we could all fly for £79.10.

Is it just me, or is that stark-raving utterly totally bonkers? Just how dedicated a greenie do you think I am, that I could afford to pay almost £700 extra to travel by train compared to flying? A £10 tax per ticket on the flights wouldn't be enough to swing the balance though. It seems to me that train ticket prices need to come down considerably - like by a factor of ten - to encourage people to let the train take the strain.

12 comments:

Nikki said...

THat's madness! Price differences are pretty hefty on rail fares to air here too although not that much.

James Dougan said...

I agree that rail fares are too high, when we are being told to use 'greener' forms of transport how can anyone afford rail fares at these prices, you could in reality buy a used car for this price to travel to london and back. £700+ buys a lot of petrol! Do rail companies expect people to pay these prices that we all ready subsidise, if rail travel is really so expensive( I don't believe it actually does cost operating companies the amounts they charge) scrap them just like Dr Beeching did.

Ally said...

That is stark raving bonkers - flippin' heck!

buster said...

I'd have thought that a picture of a British train would have been more appropriate.

Went to Edinburgh travelled on Sunday and Thursday, and booked the tickets 12 weeks in advance. The cost was £78 for two of us. It is a pain organising 12 weeks in advance but cheap for a comfortable four hour journey.
Tried to book a single ticket for me and bicycle to Shrewsbury and my call was routed to India where after taking loads of information that was never going to address my question they discovered they couldn't tell me if I can get my bike on a particular train because it is first come, first served for four bicycles. Why couldn't the website say that; perhaps they make money on the phone call and feel good employing third world labour?

Did I tell you that my carbon negative, 43 year old landrover only did 850 miles last year? No road fund licence payment either. very cheap insurance and a £50 MOT bill including the test.
What a green chappy I am.

Elfie said...

Get a family railcard.
It'll then only(!) cost you 400-odd for the same fare, so you'll make back the £20 annual joining fee many times over on the first trip.
The main problem is you're trying to travel at 'peak' hours when the cheaper saver return isn't valid.
Railcard+travel off-peak, and your fare will be around £100.

Bill of Ballaugh said...

Throughout the history of the railways, passenger travel has never been profit making. It was always the flagship section of the railway companies and was subsidised by the carriage of freight; freight was the profit base. With the "privatisation" of the railways, the "investor/accountant" became the ruler and had to have his cut. With so little freight being carried, in comparison with the past, subsidisation of the passenger arm became the task of the public and not the company.

Tim said...

Airstress - I'm hoping I'm the first to use this term. I'm 6ft 5ins and have flown very regularly. What consitutes airstress?

-anticipation of the flight, it makes me stressed before I leave. I'm not afraid of flying, I find it quite boring.
- trip to the airport, leaving sufficiently early to be first in the check in queue.
- parking
- check in - being first as if you don't you won't get leg room seats! 6ft 5ins makes it 'orrible especially when you see really short people in the seats waggling their legs.
- baggage claim
- car rental
- jet lag

Why do I prefer trains?

No waiting, if you miss a train there is often another one. (I'm not talking comuting here)
Seating (allocated on the routes that are fairly busy)
Quick

Obviously there are delays etc, but you get those in airports too - as well as landing with trains. I loved the virin service upto coventry no matter with the delays because I had a plug point for my laptop and my mp3 player a good book and plenty of leg room.

Tim said...

Airstress - I'm hoping I'm the first to use this term. I'm 6ft 5ins and have flown very regularly. What consitutes airstress?

-anticipation of the flight, it makes me stressed before I leave. I'm not afraid of flying, I find it quite boring.
- trip to the airport, leaving sufficiently early to be first in the check in queue.
- parking
- check in - being first as if you don't you won't get leg room seats! 6ft 5ins makes it 'orrible especially when you see really short people in the seats waggling their legs.
- baggage claim
- car rental
- jet lag

Why do I prefer trains?

No waiting, if you miss a train there is often another one. (I'm not talking comuting here)
Seating (allocated on the routes that are fairly busy)
Quick

Obviously there are delays etc, but you get those in airports too - as well as landing with trains. I loved the virin service upto coventry no matter with the delays because I had a plug point for my laptop and my mp3 player a good book and plenty of leg room.

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