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New Rail Prices: Fare or Unfare?

A significant hike in rail fairs could see students finding it more difficult to escape back home
from exam stress in the future after prices rise by 3%.
As of January 3, 2018 prices have been raised across the country by an average 3.7%. The exact
amount varies by region, with the highest hikes seen in the North.
According to National Rail, the raise in prices will directly help the rail network. They state that
97p from every pound in a ticket will go into “running and improving” services.
This increase may not appease those who have been affected by frequent strike action and delays
across the network. However, there are plans to further input money to the system.
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, said:“This government is continuing its record funding in
Britain’s rail network.

“As a commuter, I know how frustrating it is to be delayed by problems on the line. Passengers
want a railway they can rely on and that’s where this huge investment will make a real difference
to their everyday lives – by renewing more tracks earlier and increasing maintenance to deliver
far better services.

“This investment is about boosting reliability and punctuality for millions of journeys, and we
will do this alongside building major upgrades around the country and delivering new, faster,
more comfortable trains.”

Around £48 billion will be spent on the network in a bid to improve the efficiency of the UK rail
One student, who asked not to be named, used to go home every weekend in order to make her
time at university easier as she suffers from severe anxiety.
She said: “I suffer from really bad anxiety and like to go home every weekend to get away from
socializing and just be where I feel comfortable.
“Going home and visiting my family on the weekend is more difficult because I cannot afford it.
“To be honest it is cheaper for me to go on holiday to Europe than to see my family in
Cambridge. If I am going home every weekend that’s money I cannot afford to spend.”
In the short term, this means a higher price for an unchanged service, making the 16-25 Railcard
ever more valuable.
The reduction in fares for younger people on all journeys by 1/3 has always been welcome; in
light of the new prices it will become even more essential, especially for students who usually
travel by public transport.
The 16-25 Railcard also works for mature students 26 years and over in full-time education,
recognizing the need for supplementing all students not just the typical 18-21 age range.
There are plans to go further in supplementing rail fares, and a trial card for 26-30 year olds not
in full-time education is currently available for people in East Anglia.
The fact these cards are available does indicate that rail fares are unaffordable for many people
and it is projected that this will not change for most of their twenties.

About Lucy Robbins


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