How U.K. Train Travel Could Change After Brexit
You may want to cross that U.K. train trip off your bucket list sooner rather than later.
Since negotiations for the U.K.'s exit from the European Union began in June, travelers and locals alike have been bracing for changes in transportation within the country and between the U.K. and the E.U.
Train fares are set to jump by 3.6 percent starting in 2018 because of inflation, according to a recent report in the Independent. While 3.6 percent might not sound like much, this jump will be particularly significant for commuters, with an annual season ticket from London to Winchester jumping from 4,952 pounds per year (approximately $6,368.77) to 5,130 pounds (approximately $6,597.69).
Commuters will feel the cost much more acutely, but travelers moving around the country will also be affected by the jump.
The popular train route run by Eurostar between Paris and London may not be immune to Brexit. In October 2016, the rail company announced that it would be cutting some services with Paris and Brussels, citing the uncertainty of business travel in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Those fears may have been unfounded, however, as business surged in 2017 and Eurostar’s corporate volumes rose by 9 percent in the first quarter, according to Bloomberg.
“The economy in the U.K. has been pretty robust compared with what was feared, and the French economy is doing very well,” Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Petrovic said in an interview. “There is a sense of normality. Our customers were a lot more worried last year.”
London is also working on an Underground expansion project called Crossrail, aimed to ease rush hour traffic and cut commuting times in half. The project, which stretches across London and parts of the southeast, is supposed to transport 200 million people per year. If businesses are drawn away from the British capital, however, some have expressed fears that the new development will not be worth its multi-billion pound investment.
“The danger with Brexit is that if Britain gets out of the European Union and doesn’t keep the U.K. an attractive place for financial institutions, they will think twice about growing here. The issue isn’t banks leaving Canary Wharf. Most of them have long-term leases. The issue will be the pace of growth,” George Iacobescu, Canary Wharf’s chariman, told The New York Times.