Commenting on today’s announcement that some train tickets will be sold at discount prices for a month, rail and transport union TSSA says this should be a “wake-up call” for the industry and a moment for ministers to permanently incentivise train travel through lower ticket prices.
The announcement was made by the Department for Transport, with discounted tickets going on sale this week for off-peak fares available at up to half price for travel between 25 April and 27 May. This follows the biggest fares increase in nine years when ticket prices went up by 3.8% in March. Rail passenger numbers are less than two thirds of pre-pandemic levels.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Making train travel more affordable is welcome, but these discounts will only help our rail industry if they are made permanent.
“We need a step change in attitudes to travel and this should be a wake-up call for those running our railways. We have the most expensive train fares in Europe and despite petrol prices soaring at the pumps, car travel still remains cheaper for many than rail.
“Pricing people off our cleanest forms of public transport is a national scandal. Government and the rail industry should be doing everything possible to incentivise rail travel and make it the go-to option for both commuting and leisure travel. Discounting fares is welcome, but if it only lasts a month then it is a gimmick that will not bring the travel changes we need.”