Can people not afford to commute to work?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by GodAtum, 12 Jan 2015.

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  1. GodAtum

    GodAtum On Moderation

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    A few journalists have said that some people can no longer afford to commute to work due to the fare increases. Anyone in the same boat?
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As the fare increases on season tickets are not *massive*, if that genuinely is the case (i.e. it will break the bank entirely, rather than just meaning a luxury has to be foregone) is it perhaps not better for everyone that that person looks for a job more locally?

    Not always an option, of course, but a lot of people work in London and live outside (for example) because it is more lucrative than working locally (or if living in a rural area, in a more local medium sized town).

    Neil
     
  4. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    as commuter numbers are still increasing I would hazard a guess that its more a question of people not actually liking having to pay for the commute, these are of course the same people that choose to live miles away from their workplace/ work miles away from where they live!

    before anyone starts the normal 'but I cant get a job near where I live', well actually you can but they chose to go for a higher paying job miles away, that is a choice they make!

    Signed, somebody who has to commute 35 miles each way, which is my choice!
     
  5. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    People are grumbling- and I can totally understand why- but if fare increases mean people "can't afford to get to work" then they were probably already living on an absolute knife-edge. My season ticket is a huge amount of money but even for me the increase is only £100 across the year. Eight quid a month doesn't really make much difference.
     
  6. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    People would be prepared to put up with some of the inconvience that rail commuting brings if fares were lower. I couldn't afford to commute by rail, and it wouldn't work for me anyway as trains aren't reliable enough and don't run anywhere near where I need to go or at the times I need to be there.

    So I drive 35 miles each way (like 455Driver), which isn't too bad really. I can listen to whatever radio station I like and it takes 45 minutes versus an hour and a half by train.
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Indeed. No morning latte on one day a week, or taking sandwiches instead of buying lunch, will take care of that.

    Neil
     
  8. STPBTN

    STPBTN Member

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    I'm in the unusual position of doing what some people call "reverse commuting". I live in London in zone 1 and commute out to Brighton (or Hove, actually). If my contract were any longer than until May, I think that the cost of it would make it prohibitive. The price hike in itself wasn't huge (less than £10 a month on my season ticket) but the combination of the total price of the ticket, the time it takes to get to work and the lack of a reliable service make this commute unsustainable in the long run.

    Currently, I spend about 19% of my post-tax income on commuting. When I worked in Bombay, a Bandra-Churchgate season ticket was Rs. 130 a month - which equated to about 0.2% of my post-tax income. Quite a difference in the end!
     
  9. GodAtum

    GodAtum On Moderation

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    My journey is similar, from London - Guildford. An annual ticket is around 19% of my salary.
     
  10. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Commuter trains are already crush loaded, if fares were lower what do you think would happen to the loadings?
    Of course many of the TOCs also have to lease a lot of rolling stock just to ferry those commuters to and from work, outside these times the trains just sit in the sidings costing the TOCs a lot of money on leasing charges, have a look at the sidings at Clapham Yard or various other yards around the main commuter Cities for your proof.
     
  11. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    I don't think that it is the increase of a hundred quid in a year that means people can't afford to commute to work per se, but more the cumulative effect of year on year on year of above inflation increases to already expensive prices, combined with the soaring cost of other things like electricity, along with that for the past decade or so wages have stayed static (ie. gone down).

    At some point it will be the straw that broke the camel's back, particularly for the increasing numbers of people reliant either continuously or periodically on credit, before they actually reach a place where it's a case of "I can't afford it". And I think this is why in recent years the government have been running scared of the price increases they were "supposed" to impose, as I think they know that there are a lot of people in this boat.

    The rail industry is pretty well paid, and outside the rail industry (and outside government!) there are more and more people living in absolute financial misery with one thing or another.

    As the government's focus seems to be on promoting investment and job growth in just a handful of cities, those places that struggle today I can well imagine growing ever bigger problems with a populace that can neither get a job locally, nor afford the commute to where the jobs exist.

    I also predict that with petrol prices starting to go back down we will see more and more people start to ditch the trains in favour of the car, and an upturn in the lower end of the second hand car market.

    I think a lot of the "work locally for less pay, versus big money in the city" type comments are in the context of those big earners in London.

    This isn't the case for most commuters, who are simply people on ordinary pay forking out 1, 2, 3 or more K a year simply because that's where they could get A job.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2015
  12. GodAtum

    GodAtum On Moderation

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    In my case I was on the dole for a year until finding a job in London. Since my salary increase has been below inflation.
     
  13. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    Permit me a raised eyebrow. What "inconvenience" does rail commuting bring? I would say that the presence of a railway brings the convenience of being able to live a distance from your work, while the time table usually brings you the convenience of choosing when to travel. The fares are simply the cost of greater convenience - and, compared with buying daily tickets, commuters'season tickets are highly discounted
     
  14. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    As I explained in my post above, I can't get where I need to be at the time I need to be there by with the stuff I need to take with me - and I am not unusual in that respect. If, however, it was significantly cheaper to travel by train then I suspect people like me would probably put up with the inconvenience of being restricted by the times they can travel and where they can get to by train.
     
  15. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    Probably not a huge amount. I don't think that there is all that much suppressed demand, there are not many other options if you live outside of London (look at how Green Line struggle, for instance).

    But parking them in the sidings rather than using them saves the TOCs lots of money. The TOCs choose to park them up.

    There's a reason, I'm sure, why London Midland's off-peak trains are usually 4-car even where- as in the case of the Tring stoppers- during the evening and at weekends these trains are usually full-and-standing.
     
  16. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Have you continued to look for a job nearer home or just accepted the commute?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Because there is no demand for a 12 coach train every 10 minutes during the off peak, the TOCs still need to pay the leasing charges for the stock regardless of whether they use them or not, the only things they save is the track access, maintenance and mileage charges etc, subject to the type of lease the trains are on.
     
  17. generalvegitable

    generalvegitable Member

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    A friend of mine went to a job interview about a year ago (I'll give you three guesses who sent them :roll:), where the cost of travelling each day would have been more than the daily wage (even taking season tickets into account). I don't think anyone would be surprised by the outcome of this interview either.
     
  18. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    I think the issue is perhaps more relevant to people looking for work and seeing adverts for part-time jobs. If you're going to be paid £20 a day for 3 hours day and the train fare costs over £10 then you'd probably be better off financially by claiming Jobseekers Allowance - or whatever it's called these days.
     
  19. GodAtum

    GodAtum On Moderation

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    Thats true, although do TFL offer free travel?

    I have continued to look for jobs closer to where I lvie atm and for houses closer to my current job.
     
  20. island

    island Established Member

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    ...where you'll end up getting sanctioned and losing your benefits for turning down work.
     
  21. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Presumably that's for a limited amount of time?

    I was presuming you'd do research and find out the situation before you submitted an application, opposed to being offered the job and then turning it down.
     
  22. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    "can't afford" is a difficult concept. What I think it's indisputable is that the Railway costs too much, and people who do live reasonable distances from work must spend too high a percentage of their income on commuting.

    Typical lack of empathy in this thread from people who don't have to face this problem.
     
  23. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Why are the railways in this Country so expensive compared to Europe, India, America etc etc?
    What percentage of people in those Countries* commute the sort of distances people over here do?
    What sort of provision do the railways, Cities etc provide to those commuters?

    Once you have answered those questions it will be easier to answer the thread title!

    * Yes I know they are not all Countries but you get the idea.

    As for my lack of empathy (I assume that was aimed at me as normal), I have to commute and as most of my shifts will start before or finish after public transport is available I have to drive so it costs me a pretty penny but knew that when I took the job (and location) on so dont see the point in bitching about it!
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2015
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I assume that was either part time or the journey was something nonsensical like from Manchester to London, otherwise that would be illegal - well below the minimum wage.

    Neil
     
  25. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    We know, oyu mention it often. What you are not adept at doing is explaining what you think the railway should cost and please dont say nationalise it because thats a cop out answer and doesnt state how much you think it costs.

    Artic Troll made a good point earlier, if you really cant afford to commute anymore then you must be living right on a knife edge and maybe a sort out of personal finances should be on the cards along with looking for a cheaper place to live and a job closer to hoime
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As usual I will debate this. On the simplest level, the railway *cannot* "cost too much" if it is subsidised, as its users[1] are not paying all the costs of running the service they are using.

    And I question the benefit of subsidising medium to long distance[2] commuting, as were this not subsidised the employers wouldn't get employees in London, and would either have to increase the wages or move the jobs out to where the employees live (or consider more primarily home-working roles), which would be better for everyone.

    (In the case of London, doubling season ticket prices or something similarly heavy wouldn't increase car commuting, because driving to London is horrible.)

    [1] Well, some of them are, e.g. any TOC such as Thameslink which is paying a premium. But not any of the subsidised ones, which is most of them. And don't forget the Network Rail direct grant - I think only one or two TOCs are actually profitable once this is taken into account.

    [2] I say that specifically, because I believe there is a definite benefit to subsidising local transport within a town/city, as that does get the most damaging car journeys off the road to some extent.

    Neil
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2015
  27. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    And then you'd get sanctioned for not applying for "suitable" job!
     
  28. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Being retired, commuting isn't my problem now but I was commuting from Colchester to Ilford (44 miles) 6 days a week in the early '70s and my ticket was about 25% of my salary. So it seems that not much has changed in the last 40 years except that all journeys only need one change and are faster than the fastest trains then, (that's by changing at Shenfield, - tickets then didn't allow doubling back via Stratford).
     
  29. zoneking

    zoneking Member

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    The thing is, with the falling oil price (and car insurance), the cost of commuting by car is decreasing. The cost of commuting by rail almost never decreases.
     
  30. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    I don't know if it's the case here but one thing to note is in a lot of areas if your journey involves multiple bus operators or routes it can cost a lot in comparison to the journey length.
     
  31. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Possibly - I had assumed a rail commute.

    Neil
     
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