Reducing taxpayer subsidies should be the main focus of rail policy


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Commenting on today’s above-inflation rail fare increases, Dr Richard Wellings, Head of Transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: 

“While the increase in fares will have a significant impact on the cost of commuting by train, it is right that passengers should contribute more to the cost of running the railways.

“It is deeply unfair that taxpayers are currently forced to subsidise the rail industry to the tune of £6 billion per year. Most taxpayers rarely travel by train.

“In the longer term, the government should reform the rail sector to reduce the burden on taxpayers and passengers. This means reducing industry costs by removing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and cancelling loss-making projects such as High Speed 2.”

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