Since 1995 when British Rail was privatised train fares have risen at least three times faster than the cost of living. On some routes train fares have increased by 208% (and this report was published in February 2013 so it’s bound to have gone up even more again.
Yesterday I was on a train coming back from work and it stayed on the platform for ages with the doors shut in baking heat, because it had been delayed because of “congestion caused by earlier delays”. If it had remained there for another ten minutes in the heat, and the fact that windows were shut and the train was packed, could have become come quite dangerous.
The new “Boris Buses” are a dangerous shambles. There are no windows and they have been described as being like saunas – as well as the doors often being shut, leaving people baking even under normal circumstances, so imagine what it would be like now. Boris had described them earlier as a “brilliant feat of engineering” – brilliant perhaps if you’re trying to kill people.
And that is without all the delays and general hopelessness that are a daily part of the average railway or bus journey for millions of people. The job cuts in public transport, with many stations becoming unmanned, will make travelling by public transport a more dangerous and more frustrating experience, added to what has already happened. The trains are never delayed for a “good” reason, it’s always “congestion caused by earlier delays” or “a delay to a previous journey” or “a member of the train crew was unavailable” – oh!! Well I wonder why that is! Because they’ve cut them all! or “signalling problems” (because they’ve cut the jobs of the people who deal with that shit).
People complain about the RMT but the number of strike days that are lost compared to the general hopelessness caused by their policies.
I’ve thought in the past how great a fare strike would be. It would be very difficult to coordinate though. Does anyone have any thoughts?