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UK rail commuters pay three and a half times more than European commuters

As commuters brace themselves for steep rail fares rises next week, Campaign for Better Transport has discovered some UK commuters are paying three and a half times more for their season ticket than their European neighbours.

Campaign for Better Transport compared the cost of an annual season ticket into five major European capitals. Despite the Government’s concession in the Autumn Spending review to cap regulated fare increases to inflation plus one per cent in January, instead of inflation plus three per cent as originally planned, the transport charity discovered the sample UK ticket cost three and a half times more than the most expensive European one, and almost ten times (9.7) more than the cheapest one.

The cost of an annual season ticket, including multi-modal travel on each city's underground system, from a commuter town approximately 23 miles from the capital:

Woking to London, £3,268
Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris, £924.66
Strausberg to Berlin, £705.85
Collado-Villalba to Madrid, £653.74
Velletri to Rome, £336.17

Sophie Allain, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said:

“We knew we had some of the most expensive rail fares in Europe, if not the world, but even we were shocked by how much more the UK ticket was in comparison to our European counterparts.

"When the cost of season tickets is so much higher than other European capitals, the Government’s fare rises are starting to affect the UK’s competitiveness. That’s why if the Government is serious about promoting economic growth it must also look at reducing planned fare rises in 2013 and 2014 as part of a policy to cut fares and make public transport truly affordable.”

Campaign for Better Transport is taking part in a day of commuter action on January 3 when people will be tweeting, texting or calling George Osbourne to show their anger at fare rises. To take part go to www.farefail.org

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