So here we are, 2009 and at only the beginning of a Credit Crunch. To counter lost sales, most Retailers are turning to discount simply to get people through the doors. The Railways however have a different slant – put fares up and move the goalposts on times allowed off-peak cheaper travel.
Travelling by Train is probably the form of mid distance travel which will leave the smallest carbon footprint on our good Earth, yet it seems that those in authority are standing by and allowing the Railways to simply price themselves out the Market. If not that, they are doing themselves no good whatsoever on the Public Relations issue.
When the Operating Companies announced Rail Fare increases, there was some Chap defending the ‘up to 6% rises, as necessary to keep in line with Safety requirements. I find that hard to take. Surely it is the given right that any form of transport is on top of their safety targets and levels. Was he saying the Railways aren’t safe at present, so they need some more cash.
In a sense I feel a bit sorry for the Train Companies. The five minute sell out of our National Heritage left those on the Railway in total confusion. The Operator owns the Trains and Staff, yet National Rail own the tracks ! What was all that about!
I also have a sympathy in so far as it’s the Staff who get the blame for any lateness and nine times out of ten, it’s completely out of their control and a National Rail problem because of faulty Signals, Points or other.
But there is one thing the Operators have done which is not excusable. Some, not all, have found a loophole where they can adjust the times that off-peak trains run. Therefore, in some areas, if you catch the train you always have at say 9.30am, it will cost you the full peak fare rather than off-peak and this can relate to anything up to 100% added to the cost.
You can of course save money on some Rail Fares by purchasing Senior Citizens, Student or Family Railcards, but these will only give you discounted travel outside of peak times and the savings on fares if you travel in a group of twelve people plus can even save you more, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the average British family consists of two parents plus one point something kids!
In a day and age where the population is being ever reminded of wasted energy, waste in general, recycling and promoting car sharing or travelling by Bus or Train to save pollution, why is this allowed to happen?
Someone has to act. If they don’t, the great effort which has been put in by so many ‘ordinary people’ to make the environment better thus leaving a smaller carbon footprint for our Children and their’s will be reduced to “Why should we do anything, the Powers don’t”.
Until that happens, more people will be throwing exhaust up into the sky and not spending the little bit extra to eat ethically and who’s to blame? Not them!