Southern suffers severe strikes: "Price rises not the answer"

Many train services have been affectedby strike action this week. This has caused several students to be disrupted in their commute to school. One of these students is a regular commuter on the Marshlink line (between Hastings and Ashford International) and exclusively told us that "the service is not fantastic at the best of times, normally delayed by 5-10 minutes so when it is cancelled, it is almost unbearable. I cannot believe that they are increasing the price of a train ticket, even though the service gets, if anything, worse". The strikes have also affected other train providers - such as Northern Rail, Thameslink, Merseyrail, South Western, Greater Anglia, CrossCountry and even the London Underground.

All train tickets have also been subject to a 3.4% price rise – the biggest in half a decade; in the North, prices have risen by up to 4.7%. Many unions (such as the National Union of Rail Maritime & Transport Workers) said it was “another kick in the teeth” for passengers paying the highest fares in Europe. However; The Rail Delivery Group said investment would help deliver improvements to the railway network, including 5,700 new train carriages by 2021 and that for every pound spent on fares, more than 97p is put back into improving and running the railway. To add to this, watchdog Transport Focus has found that only 47% of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets. A solution to this is government funded tickets, which means a percentage of all tickets are paid for by the state. This, however, would command more funding, which is highly unlikely to happen. This would mean a raise in taxes to cover the cost, something unlikely under a Conservative government. It seems like Southern are going to have to turn a new leaf, cover its tracks and provide a better service for its commuters.

Joseph and Christopher, Year 8