Radical reform necessary if rail fares are to be reduced

IEA responds to rise in rail fares

Commenting on today’s announcement that regulated rail fares will rise by an average of 4.1% next year, Dr Richard Wellings, Head of Transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Commuters are understandably angry about the latest round of fare increases, but the reality is most journeys will remain heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. It is right that passengers should pay a higher proportion of rail industry costs and on some routes higher fare rises are justified.

“In the longer term, the government should focus on reforming the rail industry to improve the efficiency of the network. Removing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy would help reduce the upward pressure on both subsidies and fares.

“Ministers should also cancel uneconomic rail investment schemes like HS2 that deliver few benefits but add substantially to the burden on taxpayers and rail users.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with an IEA spokesperson, please contact Stephanie Lis, Communications Officer on 020 7799 8909 or 07766 221 268.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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