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How much of your income goes on travelling to work?

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
UK workers on average salaries can spend as much as 14% of their income travelling to work, much more than their European counterparts.

Rail fares have shot up twice as much as wages and inflation over the last decade, according to research by Action for Rail Campaign.

Its analysis found fares have risen by 56% since 2006, more than double the change in average earnings (24%) and inflation (26%).

Based on the average monthly earnings of £2,759, the typical UK worker spends 14% of their income on a monthly season ticket from Luton to London – £387.

Those travelling from Liverpool to Manchester pay £292 which is 11% of their salary.

Action for Rail, a campaign group by rail unions and the TUC, said a key driver of the costs is the privatised rail service. European countries it examined have largely publicly-owned rail services and much lower costs for commuters.

It found that UK workers spend up to six times as much of salaries on rail fares as European passengers on publicly-owned railways as similar journeys in Europe would cost 2% of incomes in France, 3% in Germany and Italy, and 4% in Spain.

UK commuters have already seen rail fare rises since coming back to work in 2017 with unregulated fares such as first class and advance purchase tickets having increased by an average of 2.3%.

And regulated fare increases such as season tickets are based on July’s measure of inflation which came in at 1.9%.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, said: “British commuters are forced to shell out far more on rail fares than others in Europe. Many will look with envy at the cheaper, publicly-owned services on the continent.

“Years of failed privatisation have left us with sky-high ticket prices, overcrowded trains, understaffed services and out-of-date infrastructure. Private train companies are milking the system, and the government is letting them get away with it.”

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