Train fares have gone up in the UK and new research shows that it has some of the highest season ticket prices in Europe. Some passengers spend up to 13% of their monthly salary just to get to work. Graham Satchell looks at how UK rail fares compare with the prices elsewhere in Europe.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 How long will the train journey take?
2 What is the average cost of a season ticket in the UK?
3 How much does an annual season ticket for that journey cost?
4 And a season ticket in Germany?
5 What's the difference in money between what the German government and the British government put it on the railway systems?
6 What three adjectives are used to described the British rail industry?
It’s 7.30 on a wild wet morning in Lancashire. This is the commute from Tooley to Manchester. We’re travelling about 25 miles. It will take forty, forty-five minutes. We are trying to answer this question, why are rail tickets in Britain the highest in Europe? We’re going to get some help from my colleague in Germany, Damian.
Thanks, Graham. I’m in Ausberg on my way to central Berlin. It’s just coming up to 8 o’clock here, so people are rushing on their way to work. I’m also travelling 25 miles.
The train to Manchester fills up quickly. It’s standing room only. You can understand why some passengers are less than happy.
It’s like sardines in a tin. They charge us full prices and then we’re supposed to stand up every day.
It surely can’t be right for us to be crammed in like cattle.
The average cost of a season ticket is now just under two and a half thousand pounds, but some can be much more. 11, 12, 13 thousand pounds. And for this journey, an annual season ticket has just gone up to £1,884.
Train tickets here in Germany are much cheaper than in the UK, typically around a third of the price. A season ticket, for example, costs 936€, that’s about £700, but does that mean that travellers here on German rail are happy with the service?
It’s cheap, and normally it’s fast.
Often too late, it’s dirty, not so good.
So it seems that German railway is not quite as punctual as you might think. Now the main reason the German railway network is so much cheaper than in Britain is because of the amount of money the German state puts into it.
Last year in Britain the government put in about 5 billion pounds to the railway network. It’s about half what the German government puts in. But this is not all about the amount of taxpayers’ money. Experts say the British rail industry is fragmented, inefficient, overregulated.
We’re on time. And the German system is far from perfect, but most experts agree that because the way the ownership is set up and because that’s much clearer, the end result is a service to passengers which is simpler, more efficient and generally just a bit better than the British service.
This is Manchester Piccadilly, our journey’s end and we’re on time too, but these commuters have paid more than double for their annual season tickets than commuters in Germany who travel exactly the same distance.
1 forty-five minutes
2 (just under) two and a half thousand pounds
5 Twice as much money in Germany / Half the money in Britain
6 fragmented, inefficient, overregulated