Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Value for money? Are you joking?

Yesterday, on the Radio Five Live Drive show, there was a corporate spokesman for all the rail companies trying to justify the the massive hike in prices. One point he made that was good, was that much of the problem comes from the fact that 50% of the fare we pay is subsidised by the taxpayer. The implication being here that really, if we paid the proper whack, it would be double the price, so we ought not moan.

The problem is that the guy - who I should add hilarious had a "Welease Woderwick" issue with his pronunciation of "r" thus making me snigger every time he said the word "wailway" - then went on to argue that rail journeys were actually good "value for money" and tried to claim that "value for money" was not all about price.

Let's get something straight, the railways are not good value for money when compared to driving a car. Fact.

A return ticket in peak times (i.e. on the way to and from work) from London to Swindon will set you back around £60. The journey by car is about 160 miles round trip, which, in your average car is about 4 gallons of petrol, which will set you back approximately £20. Throw in £8 congestion charging and you've still got £32 left for parking assuming work can't offer parking.

Of course you might choose to park on the outskirts and get the tube/bus on the final leg. Either way, unless you're doing exceptionally short journeys, it is cheaper to drive than get the train. Take a look at a ticket price for London to Newcastle that is not book six months in advance and tell me that driving isn't more economical?

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