Sunday, September 14, 2008

The End of the Line

On Wednesday night I compered a charity gig in Ipswich. Mr Cru was on the bill too and lots of friends of ours so we were really looking forward to it. Having originally planned to get a lift to the gig, we then heard that this was actually going to be awkward and necessitate another car being brought along just for our benefit. Thinking of the environment as well as the inconvenience we quickly volunteered to get the train to Ipswich and catch the others up there. Got to Liverpool Street Station and headed for the ticket office. Two returns to Ipswich? £116.

Yes fifty-eight pounds EACH! This is a less-than-an-hour journey. Lots of people commute this route. Now of course if you book years in advance and make the journey regularly you can pay much less than that but I don't have the kind of job where I am going to make the same journey very often and nor do I always know miles in advance wherer I am going. And anyway what is the point of having a £58 fare unless you actually intend to charge people £58 for a return train journey London to Ipswich? In the past when I've made that journey it's never been more than £25 return. And the single fare was £55.

It would, of course be cheaper for the two of us to rent a car and drive to Ipswich. In the end we took a £14 return to Cambridge and got a lift across with another act from Cambridge. And Cambridge is actually a longer train journey from Liv St Station.

Every time I open the papers I see people complaining that Gordon Brown should do something about the cost of driving and then do something about climate change. Am I the only one who can see one simple way of dealing with both problems? Caps on train fares! What is the point of privatising the railways and then allowing them to rip the general public off all the time?

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