Rail Fares set to rise (again)

As Rail Fares are set to rise (again), will we see more people taking up cycling?

Rail Fares set to rise (again)

Amongst the headlines today there is a story that seems to rear its ugly head all to often. This is the story of a rise in train fares that occurs every year in England due to inflation. This news is always felt powerfully to those who rely on trains as a regular means of travel as salaries and wages levels often stagnate instead of rising, leaving many people with less disposable income and rendering the train a non-viable option. However demoralising this story always is, perhaps there is a silver lining for the cycling industry?

The regulated fares that are due to rise are in the control of the Government and include season tickets, “anytime” single tickets around major cities, and off-peak inter-city return tickets. They will go up by an average of inflation – as measured by the retail prices index (RPI) for July – plus 1%. Meaning that this year train fares will go up by 4.1% according to official statistics. Ouch. To make things even more grim, if you are travelling on a busy line you could be “clobbered” with rises of up to 9.1% as train companies add extra increases to some tickets! These price increases do have to be balanced by price reductions on other lines…. but I’m sure this is little consolation to those who are set to pay more.

Rail fare increases

With this annual and disproportionate hike in fares I believe people might just give up on the UK’s under-performing and ever increasingly expensive rail system and turn to their bikes as an alternative. I know I have. The cycling industry in the UK is already enjoying a very prosperous time with many new cyclists taking up the hobby thanks to London 2012 and British successes in Le Tour de France (Thanks Wiggins, Cheers Froome!) Just over 24 hours after the ballot opened for the 2014 Prudential RideLondon – Surrey 100, more than 50,000 people have registered to take part in next year’s event! Hopefully in the next year the number of people enjoying getting out on the bike will keep on rising

Would you be persuaded by these price rises to get out on your bike more? A comment on the BBC News website read “I remember my dad telling me he went to night school in Norwich from Lowestoft ( 20 miles ) by bike, Seems like time for me also.”

This fare fiasco as coincided (albeit unintentionally) with  Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to start start a “cycling revolution” in the United Kingdom. With a huge cash injection of £94million coupled alongside a drive to promote cycling in cities and national parks so now is the perfect time to take up the sport!

Sources: BBC News, Sky News, BikeBiz, Cyclo, Retail Price Index

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