Campaign raises ticket cost fears

A cut in transport budgets could lead to big rises in rail fares, more potholes and fewer buses, says a report from the Campaign for Better Transport.

Train fares could rise by 33 per cent in this Parliament if fares increased annually by the rate of Retail Prices Index inflation plus three per cent, the report said.

Overcrowding on trains will increase without extra carriages while it is vital to properly maintain the roads, the campaign says.

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Cutting the Government's bus service operator grant would result in seven per cent fewer services, a 6.5 per cent fares increase and 94 million fewer miles of supported services.

Campaign executive director Stephen Joseph said: "Our research shows that on transport spending the Government has a choice.

"It can go for easy cuts, taking money out of all budgets, upping fares and giving priority to big roads. Or it can go for smarter cuts which protect the spending that helps the economy, meets carbon and environmental targets and strengthens communities."

He said existing train services should be protected and enhanced but there was a danger that if significant cuts were made in the wrong places, "there will be increased overcrowding, fares rises and reduced or slower services". Roadbuilding projects were poor value for money, he added.