15:11 GMT +315 October 2019
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    A Southern Rail logo is pictured on the side of a train carriage as t stands at a platform at East Croydon station, south of London

    UK Rail Fail: More Strikes and Price Hikes Set for 2017

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel Leal-Olivas
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    Outrage is growing among rail commuters in Britain after it emerged Londoners spend six times more on rail fares than workers in Europe while the service is beset with delays and strikes. The cost of a ticket as increased twice as much as wages and inflation with people spending more than 14 percent of their income on season tickets.

    Campaign group Action for Rail found that people spent US$474 a month to commute into London compared with US$74 in Paris or Rome, leaving the expense to efficiency ratio of Britain's railways to suggest rail privatization has failed in Britain. 

    ​Many commuters in the south east of England spent the majority of 2016 unable to reach their destination due to industrial action with lines in and out of London too chaotic or too overcrowded to use. And while London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to freeze Transport for London's rail and bus fares for four years, suburban and city railway companies are free to increase theirs.

    "It is scandalous that the [British] Government is allowing privatized train companies to make even more money for providing an ever-poorer service," Mick Whelan, leader of the train drivers' union ASLEF said.

    "We have the most expensive railway in Europe and the train companies, aided and abetted by this Government, are about to make it even more costly for people to travel," Mr. Whelan added.

    ​Meanwhile Mick Cash, Rail, Maritime and Transport Union general secretary, accused rail companies of "laughing all the way to the bank."

    "Companies like Southern Rail and their French owners are siphoning off cash to subsidize rail services in Paris and beyond." 

    And if 2016 wasn't bad enough for Southern Rail commuters, they've been told not to bother traveling at all for the week beginning 9 January 2017 due to industrial action against driver-only operated trains.

    "We advise you not to travel during the drivers' strike," Southern has stated.

    There is also the danger that striking rail staff could be joined by London Underground Tube drivers which would see swathes of the capital's network disrupted.

    Acas, the conciliation service, is due to hood talks to avert strike action by Tube station and ticket staff in a dispute over job losses.


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    commuter train, drivers, strike, railway, money, Sadiq Khan, Europe, United Kingdom, London
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