Fares for long-distance rail travel in Germany have dropped up to 10 per cent as climate protection measures aimed at making train travel more attractive came into effect with the new year.
Travellers taking trips of more than 50km (31 miles) on Deutsche Bahn’s Intercity Express trains can look forward to fare decreases of 10%. It is predicted that the price drop would bring in another 5 million passengers per year.
The cheaper tickets are a result of Deutsche Bahn passing on to customers the government’s cut in value-added tax on rail travel, from 19% to 7%.
Back in the UK rail passengers face “another decade of misery” as fares are hiked by an average of 2.7%, a campaign group has claimed.
Some long-distance commuters saw the annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100 on Thursday despite fewer than two-thirds of trains being on time last year.
Fewer than half (47%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a new fund will be created to support trials of more flexible fares across the country as part of improvements focused on “putting passengers first”.
Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture, claimed fares are “outstripping people’s incomes”.
He said: “Welcome to another decade of misery for rail passengers.
“How on earth is the Government going to meet its climate commitments by pricing people off environmentally-friendly trains and on to our polluted and congested roads?”
Network Rail data shows only 65% of trains arrived at their scheduled station stops within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to December 7.
Among the routes where the price of annual season tickets has increased by a three-figure sum are:
– Reading to London (up £132 to £4,736)
– Gloucester to Birmingham (up £118 to £4,356)
– Glasgow to Edinburgh via any permitted route (up £116 to £4,200)
Not all commuters in Germany will get cheaper fares in 2020. Fares for short-distance travel and public transport in regions such as Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Brandenburg and the Rhineland are set to increase, the news agency dpa reported this week.