The UK has some of the most expensive train fares in Europe, with British commuters paying up to five times more than their continental counterparts.

And with train ticket prices increasing at the highest rate in five years recently, some people have had enough.

One of them is Steve Bartlett, CEO of Manchester-based marketing whizz kids Social Chain Group. He’s called on Richard Branson and train operators to introduce a railcard for startup businesses faced with ‘crippling’ rail fares.

Virgin Group founder Branson has an initiative in place called Virgin Startup, a not-for-profit organisation which offers mentoring and financial support to thousands of 18-30 year old entrepreneurs across the UK.

Unfortunately, one of the things it doesn’t offer is the capacity to travel to and from London at a reasonable rate on Virgin Trains.

This journey is expensive – and for start-ups it is unavoidable. To book a week in advance, an open return from Manchester to London can cost upwards of £300.

“If you want to support startup entrepreneurship in the UK, please consider introducing a startup railcard,” Steve writes in his open letter.

“The train lines, especially for startups outside London, are vitally important for growing businesses and ticket prices can be crippling for entrepreneurs.

“Having startup railcard encourages and facilitates national entrepreneurship, thus helping the UK economy long term.”

He’s also started a petition that’s gaining traction from budding and hopeful entrepreneurs across the UK.

To sign the startup railcard petition, click here.

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