From the Independent:
Over the past few days I have had random conversations with friends and colleagues whose lives are far removed from those dependent on food banks. I am struck by how often the price of services or vital goods came up.
A well-off friend told me that she and her husband went to Devon for the weekend, had wanted to take the train and were deterred by the cost of more than £300. They were going to face the insane traffic jams instead. On the same day, I bumped into an old friend who now commutes from the Chilterns. He told me the train fares were preposterous. He had tried to make use of off-peak fares, but the rail company had changed the definition of off-peak, making it impossible.
If you're living in London, rents are high. A way around that is travelling to and from London by train from outside. Of course, once everyone catches onto that, lots of people will do it to save on rents, and eventually the train fares will soak up most of the savings. The train companies will try and get as much as they can from passengers (and there's no better form of rationing than price, and in my experience, rail companies are pretty good at pricing).
I live an hour out of London and if you look at the fares around here, they really aren't that expensive. Torquay for me would cost £55 return. Get a Two Together Railcard, and it's about £75 for 2 of us. Compared to a 135 mile journey each way with £50~ in petrol, I think it's reasonably competitive. I'm sure the rail company is making a little money on it, but they can't make as much because there's not as much demand on my route.
BTW I looked up how much a return TGV train from Paris to Bordeaux cost on a Friday night, and it's £155. In case anyone tells you that French trains cost the same as a bag of croissants.
MW adds, re: "... lots of people will do it to save on rents, and eventually the train fares will soak up most of the savings."
Either that, or, if rail fares are capped, rents in outlying town will rise to soak up the saving i.e. the cast iron formula is: rent in London = rent in outlying town + cost of commute (cash cost and time cost).
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
From the Independent: