Rail fare hikes to hit graduates hard

CAN YOU AFFORD TO GET TO WORK?

Low-paid workers – including graduates at the start of their careers – will be disproportionally impacted by large increases to train ticket prices introduced today, experts have warned.

The average season ticket will increase by 4.2 per cent from today with some unregulated fares set to rise by up to 12 per cent. The latest hikes mean that the average person is spending 8% of their monthly wage packet simply getting to and from work. But for the lowest paid workers – including young people – the percentage will be even higher, as their total salary is smaller.

Also affected will be graduates keen to find work in the new year. Graduate Fog’s readers often tell us that you struggle to find the money to fund your travel costs to and from interviews and assessment centres, which can take place hundreds of miles from where you’re currently living. At present, few employers offer to contribute towards these costs. Some offer phone interviews as an alternative, but many of you feel a face-to-face meeting gives a much better opportunity to impress.

The increases have sparked a row between politicians on all sides, train companies – and representatives for consumers and workers. Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“The impact of successive governments’ policies on rail fares is appalling. It’s shocking that getting the train to work is an extravagance that many struggle to afford.”

But Michael Roberts, of the Association for Train Operating Companies, said:

“We know nobody likes paying more for their journey, especially to go to work. Train companies will continue working with the rest of the industry to become more cost efficient.”

Graduate Fog is increasingly concerned by huge rises in basic costs for young people, who are already struggling to make ends meet as they do unpaid internships or survive on meagre salaries from low-paid jobs. With rent, bills and transport costs spiralling, many graduates are running out of options. Will they be forced to give up their dreams, stay at home with their parents and settle for whatever work they can find in their local area?

 

*CAN YOU AFFORD TO GET TO WORK?
How much do you spend on travel every month – and what percentage of your wage packet is that? If you’re looking for work, how much have you spent on getting to interviews – and do employers ever offer to contribute towards your travel costs?

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