“Rail fares still cheaper than chartering a private jet” retorts minister

by philapilus
Luxury yacht in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, 2006

“It’s not like there aren’t other ways to get to work”

Lib-Dem rail minister Norman Baker hit back at critics of higher fares yesterday, and slammed suggestions that spending 75% of your salary just getting to and from work might be a bit unfair.

“Trains are incredibly reasonably priced,” insisted Baker “when taken against other comparable modes of transport such as helicopters, jets, or paying for a private canal to be dug between your domicile and place of work.”

He was forced to qualify this, however, adding “Unless of course you and a couple of neighbours got together for a helicopter-pool, jet-pool or canal-building-pool, in which case obviously rail is more expensive. But still, it’s bloody good value for money, I think.”

As the traditional new year celebratory ticket price-hike was unveiled at 4%, the coalition government refused to accept claims that passengers were paying too much, and pointed out that the increasing numbers of commuters going shirtless was due to the rising price of cotton, rather than the sphincter-splitting shafting passengers were receiving over fares.

Matt Nobbend, spokesman for Network Rail, said “Honestly I don’t see what all the fuss is about. What people have to realise, is that the railways are both super-efficient, and cost-effective. The rail industry received a mere £4bn subsidy from the taxpayer last year, amounting to only 35% of  revenue. How anyone could consider this as anything less than a shining example of privatisation working successfully, is utterly beyond me.”

As the railways now cost the public purse between three and four times what they did pre-privatisation, some people have argued that prices ought to be coming down, or at least not rising automatically above inflation every year. They claim that studies  indicate most people are now reliant on hitching lifts to work on horse-drawn haycarts.

“What our critics are failing to take account of is the huge infrastructural costs incurred in running a national rail service,” said Nobbend “such as spa outings for shareholders, fact-finding trips to Jamaica for the board of directors, and even just paying for those things the trains run on, what are they called? Tracks, yes, thank you. We bought three pieces of track just last year, and we had to hire a lorry to get them home and everything.

“Anyway, just think of the environmental benefits gained from financially forcing 90% of the population into using pre-industrial modes of transport. This is good work we are doing.”

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