Commuters urged to show fares anger

COMMUTERS returning to work after the festive break today will be urged to tell the Government exactly what they think of the above-inflation rail fare rises they are having to pay for 2012.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) is inviting rail travellers to contact the Treasury by tweets, text messages or phone calls so they can show Chancellor George Osborne their anger at the increases.

From yesterday, regulated fares, which include season tickets, have risen by an average of six per cent, but some commuters are paying as much as 10.6 per cent more for their annual tickets than they did in January 2011.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The CBT is joining the TSSA transport union in a demonstration against the fare rises which is being held outside St Pancras station in London.

Last week the CBT released figures which showed that some British commuters are paying between three and a half times and nearly 10 times more for some season tickets than some of their European counterparts.

The Government has scrapped its original plan to raise regulated fares by the RPI inflation rate plus three per cent, so that the January 2012 increase is limited to RPI plus one per cent.

But the Government still plans to bring in RPI plus three per cent rises in January 2013 and January 2014.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

CBT public transport campaigner Sophie Allain said: “When the cost of season tickets is so much higher than other European capitals, the Government’s fare rises are starting to affect the UK’s competitiveness.

“That’s why, if the Government is serious about promoting economic growth, it must also look at reducing planned fare rises in 2013 and 2014 as part of a policy to cut fares and make public transport truly affordable.”

London Underground and London bus fares have risen by an average of 5.6 per cent this January - a lower-than-planned figure following a Government cash injection of £136m.

The Government, train companies and London Mayor Boris Johnson are all adamant that fare rises are necessary to sustain much-needed investment in the Tube and main line railway, which includes projects such as Crossrail and Thameslink.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But passenger groups and transport unions are particularly angry that the rises come at a time of high inflation and low or no salary increases.

They have also pointed to Network Rail’s poor punctuality on long-distance rail routes as highlighted recently by the Office of Rail Regulation.