I write this as I sit on a train, returning home to South Manchester from our recently opened Liverpool office. I don't often travel this way and have generally had a stress free time travelling to and from university and meetings over the years. However... my train was delayed this morning, stopped short of it's destination and now I've had another delay on the return leg. Having sat down to read the news, I read with great ironic timing and after a particularly poor experience that there is more bad news from a commuter/rail passenger point of view...
My initial reaction to the headline figures that fares are to rise by 20% over the next three years was 'Are you are kidding?!', then followed by the relief that it won't really affect me as because I generally travel by car. But, if you do take the train, what choice do you have? Bringing it back home slightly; I wonder if this is going to have an impact of what candidates think about commuting to certain locations, and whether it will have a bearing on their job search criteria.
Recently it's become a balancing act between petrol prices, which have flatlined recently and now the rise in rail fares. I do think that travel factors/costs will be increasingly discussed in terms of packages at job offer stage, as travel continues to be an increasing portion of a candidate's disposable income. So employers beware! I feel this could become a hot topic at job offer stage and it would be better for businesses to address this earlier on, as candidates are increasingly looking for more than just an annual bonus when they are applying for roles.
Ministers have said that the rail reforms will ultimately save £3.5 billion from the annual cost of running services by 2019 - that's little comfort in the short term, when you're looking at the next golden job opportunity. But then I read on and understand that central government currently subsidise the rail network to the tune of £4 billion per annum currently and foots the bill of 40% of very journey we go on. I don't know how accurate these figures are but I suppose there are two sides to every story?
In times of continuing central government cost measures in an uncertain economic climate, these rail fare hikes are an added frustration that the public could do without.