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It's official: Private rail firms have been ripping you off for 20 years

31 March 2014

Virgin and First Great Western have hiked fares by 245%

Rail fares have trebled since British Rail was privatised twenty years ago on April Fool's Day, the TSSA revealed today.

Independent research carried out for the union showed the biggest hike has been on Sir Richard Branson's Virgin line where a walk on return fare from London to Manchester has increased by 245% since April 1 1994.

Fares expert Barry Doe found that equal first in the eye watering increase table is First Great Western which also showed a 245% increases on the return fare from London to Bristol.

His top ten of fare rises since ill fated Railtrack took over from BR 20 years ago show increases of between 151% and 245%. But overall price rises, shown by the RPI , increased by 78% over the same period.

"This proves what every passenger knows in their bones", said union general secretary Manuel Cortes. "The private rail industry has been ripping us all off for the past 20 years."

"Fares on the most popular routes have more than trebled, rising three times faster than the rate of inflation. When the Tories sold off the railways, they gave the likes of tax exiles like Sir Richard, a licence to print money. He and his fellow privateers have been exploiting that licence ever since."

The union was one of the leaders of the successful campaign to end annual inflation plus rail fare rises which the Coalition finally agreed to halt in January, limiting the 2014 increase to the rate of inflation.

But it is now asking a future Labour Government to introduce a one year fares freeze if it wins next year's General Election.

"The Tories obviously took us all for April Fools' in 1994, promising to actually cut fares but allowing them to go through the roof instead," he added. "We now want Labour to give rail passengers a real break by introducing a one year freeze from January 2016."

Top Ten Fare Rises Between April 1 1994 and April 1 2014

Anytime Return Fares from London 

  1994 2014 % Increase
Manchester £93 £321 245%
Bristol £56 £193 245%
Liverpool £91 £301 231%
Cardiff £69 £213 209%
Birmingham £54 £164 204%
Nottingham £57 £160.50 182%
Glasgow £126 £352 179%
Leeds £93 £249 168%
Newcastle £120 £301 151%
Edinburgh £126 £304 141%

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