Travel: Costs

Department for Transport written question – answered on 29th June 2015.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the percentage change in real terms of the cost to the traveller of travelling by (a) private car, (b) bus, (c) train and (d) domestic aeroplane since (i) 1980, (ii) 1997 and (iii) 2010.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department for Transport published statistics on travel costs, based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the Transport Statistics Great Britain compendium.

Data from the independent ONS suggests that:

(i) Between 1980 and 2014 a) the real cost of motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle, declined by 14%, b) bus and coach fares increased by 58% and c) rail fares increased by 63% in real terms.

(ii) Between 1997 and 2014 a) the real cost of motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle, declined by 11%, b) bus and coach fares increased by 27% and c) rail fares increased by 24% in real terms.

(iii) Between 2010 and 2014 a) the real cost of motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle, decreased by 5%, b) bus and coach fares increased by 2% and c) rail fares increased by 6% in real terms.

(d) The costs of travelling by air are not available from ONS data.  However information is available based on fare data from the Civil Aviation Authority from 2000. The real cost of the average UK one-way air fare, including taxes and charges, covering domestic flights from 2010 to 2013 declined by 4%. Estimates for 2014 are not yet available.

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John Byng
Posted on 30 Jun 2015 5:20 pm (Report this annotation)

It is worth noting that the decline in the cost of private transport (cars and planes) and the increasing cost of public transport (buses, trains) is largely due to government action on taxes and subsidies. Air transport, for example, is free of fuel tax and VAT and the Air Passenger Duty only recovers about 25% of the tax advantage given to this industry.
It is clear therefore that the Government is failing to encourage public transport in spite of the claims made about being a green government and committed to tackling the causes of climate change.