January 02, 2020
Rail fares have been hiked by an average of 2.7%, prompting one campaign group to warn of “another decade of misery” for passengers.
Rail Fares Have Gone Up Again – Heres Why
Some long-distance commuters saw the annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100 on Thursday despite fewer than two-thirds of trains being on time last year.
Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture, claimed fares are “outstripping people’s incomes”.
“Welcome to another decade of misery for rail passengers,” he said. 
“How on earth is the government going to meet its climate commitments by pricing people off environmentally-friendly trains and on to our polluted and congested roads?”
According to TUC data published by The Times, RPI-linked rail fares have risen twice as quickly as average wages over the past 10 years, with rail fares jumping by 47% compared to a 22% rise in average wages. Network Rail data shows only 65% of trains arrived at their scheduled station stops within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to December 7.
South Western Railway passengers suffered from strike action throughout December, while there was major disruption to Northern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains services during much of 2019.
Rail, Maritime and Transport union analysis of company accounts for train operators and three major rolling stock firms showed they have paid out £4.4bn in dividends to shareholders over the last 10 years.Among the routes where the price of annual season tickets has increased by a three-figure sum are:
– Reading to London (up £132 to £4,736)
– Gloucester to Birmingham (up £118 to £4,356)
– Glasgow to Edinburgh via any permitted route (up £116 to £4,200)Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We know that no-one wants to pay more to travel, and rail companies have, for the third year in a row, held average fare increases below inflation while continuing to deliver investment in new trains and extra services that will improve journeys for customers.”He added that 2020 will see 1,000 extra weekly services and 1,000 more carriages added to Britain’s rail fleet.
Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps unveiled a new fares trial on Govia Thameslink Railway services which will give passengers on certain routes the opportunity to buy better value tickets aimed at part-time workers.
A fund to support further trials across Britain will also be established by the government.  The Department for Transport will set out reforms of the railways in a white paper, responding to recommendations of the government-commissioned Rail Review led by former British Airways boss Keith Williams.
It was due to be published in autumn 2019 but has been delayed until this year due to the general election.
Shapps said: “This government will improve the railway system to ensure the focus is always on putting passengers first.
“This commitment begins with the launch of innovative fares trials, to help explore the benefits and costs of a clearer, more flexible and fairer fares system.”Why does the cost of train travel increase every year?It has been the policy of successive governments to switch the burden of funding the railways from taxpayers to passengers.How much more expensive have train fares become?Office of Rail and Road figures show that between January 1995 – around the time the network was privatised – and January 2019, average fares increased in real terms by 21%.
This year’s rise is 2.7%.When are fares increased?Prices rise on the first working day of every new year.Who decides how much they go up by?Increases in about 45% of fares are regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments. The rest are decided by train companies.Which fares are regulated?Season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys and tickets for travel around major cities at any time are regulated.How is the cap on the rise in these fares calculated?Most rises are pegged to the July Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was 2.8%.Where does the money go?The Rail Delivery Group says 98p of every £1 spent on train fares goes towards running and maintaining services.Is there any way of avoiding the fare rise?Savvy commuters renewed their season tickets in the days before Thursday’s increase.Any other tips on limiting the cost of train travel?Passengers can save money by getting a railcard, travelling off-peak and booking in advance, although these options are not available for many journeys, particularly those made by commuters.More News... Three British Airways Cabin Crew Killed As Lorry And Car Collide On New Year's Eve These Are The Victims Of Fatal Knife Crime On London’s Streets In 2019 As Deaths Rise To 90
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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