London’s commuters by train are currently getting a very poor deal from our railway system, it seems.
Firstly the cost is a serious rip-off, with prices far higher than those in some cities in mainland Europe. A 36 mile journey from Luckenwalde, Germany to Berlin costs £99.80 (112 euro), per month whereas the 35 mile journey from Maidstone to Cannon Street costs £402.50 per month, more than 400 per cent more. Before the collapse in the value of sterling the differential was 500 per cent more. In Italy a 48 mile trip from Orte to Rome costs £116 (130 euro) per month whereas a similar journey from Milton Keynes to Euston costs £482.70 per month, or 242 per cent more.
Secondly punctuality is unimpressive with an average of one in three trains across the national network arriving late, or not at all, at their final destination. Trains into Worcester Park in south-west London have the worst record with 84% arriving late, with trains into Tottenham Hale in north London not far behind at 79.5% Train operating companies received £107 million from track operator Network Rail for delays last year but only paid back £26 million to passengers, and only when they asked for it.
Thirdly rail commuters suffer most from being held to ransom by the frequent and selfish strikes called by rail unions.