Blood and Custard


IT IS the beginning of a new year, with the annual ritual of the railway fare increase attracting the usual adverse headlines in the newspapers. Just as predictably, the international comparisons are there too: the Trades Union Congress, for example, put out a press release comparing the cost of a monthly season ticket from Étampes over the 30 miles into Paris with that from Chelmsford over the 28 miles into London Liverpool Street. The French commuter pays just £66.31, or 2.45% of average monthly earnings, against the £381 that the Chelmsfordian has to fork out – a whopping 13.39% of average monthly earnings on this side of the Channel.

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