Image: © Diliff via Wikimedia Commons

UK train fares just got 3% more expensive

But at least millennials get a discount.

UK train tickets go up by 3.2 percent from Jan 2019, although two new discounts for young people have been introduced.

What it means: British train prices are going up again, and a lot of commuters aren’t feeling super chuffed about it. The Daily Mirror huffed that the price increases were particularly unfair considering “punctuality is at a 13-year low, lines are overcrowded and rail shareholders are stuffing their pockets”.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called the rise a “disgrace” and said this was exactly why he wanted to nationalise all the railways (i.e. put the government in charge of running them, rather than private companies).

But both the train companies and the government minister who oversees them say the criticisms are unfair. Train companies say that only 2 percent of the money people pay for train tickets becomes profit (Apple, in contrast, has a profit margin of 38 percent).

That means almost everything people pay goes into things like maintaining tracks and paying train driver wages. And Chris Grayling, the government’s train-guy, says the main reason fares have gone up is that train staff wanted higher wages and kept striking until they got them.

A couple of new railcards have been introduced to help make fares cheaper for some people. 16-17 year-olds will get half-price train tickets from September, and 26-30 year-olds will get a third off from today (16-25 year olds already get this discount).

Considering millennials are the first generation in a long time to have incomes lower than their parents, plenty of people will think it’s a good thing if the new train fare system makes older people subsidise younger ones. Others will point out that’s there’s plenty of older people with low incomes who may really struggle with the rise, especially if they use the train frequently for things like getting to work.

Read our explainer on public vs private ownership.

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