For many commuters, this year will have provided a relaxing break from the daily battle with the train network, with COVID-19 forcing employers to allow far greater working from home. With the start of mass-vaccination, the end of the pandemic may well now be in-sight and with it the return to all the horrors of commuting.
As someone who has commuted to London for work–on-and-off–for the last twelve years, I have witnessed first-hand the year-on-year decline in travelling conditions under various railway franchisees. At the same time, commuters have also suffered the impact of ticket prices fast outpacing inflation for the last decade, with a season ticket to London now costing almost £4,000, the largest annual expense for many after housing costs.
All of which is bad enough, but this week it was revealed that the government now plans to cut £1bn in railway infrastructure investment, meaning that on top of the annual fare increase, we face an even a less reliable network with even less hope of the capacity improvements local railway lines desperately need.
Our railway system is broken and it is clear that under our present government that won’t be getting any better any time soon.