Why are UK train fares so expensive? We ask an expert

Cat Hobbs, who campaigns for public ownership of railways, on the cost of tickets and the companies pocketing the profits

Last month, it was announced that rail fares would rise in March – again. But why are UK train tickets so expensive? I asked Cat Hobbs, the founder of We Own It, a group campaigning for public ownership of the railways.

I recently got married in Scotland, and it took eight hours to drive my bickering family up there. It was cheaper to do that – and pay for the therapy afterwards – than all take the train. Why do some experts say our trains are cheap?
Some of our advance tickets are cheap, but our walk-on fares are expensive. A ticket from London Paddington to Bristol in 1995 was £28.50. If the price had increased with inflation, it would be double – but it can go as high as £115. The 2011 McNulty report found that the UK’s fares cost roughly 30% more than those of other railways in Europe. And our government is obsessed with passengers footing the bill.

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