Train fare rises to be scrapped?
As we all know, the price of train tickets has been leaping wildly upward for too long, with some going up by double in ten years. And are our trains running more efficiently and all shiny and new? Arse they are.
And so, ministers - far too late to the party, as usual - are saying that future price hikes could be scrapped. Rail minister Norman Baker said he wanted to stop further increases, but showed typical insensitivity by saying that current fares were 'not nearly as expensive as is being presented'.
Tell that to those who have seen tickets going up by almost 90% and everyone else who has noticed that fares have outstripped salary rises.
Baker said: 'We want to end the era of above-inflation rises as soon as we possibly can, and we’re working towards that. I'm engaged in the fares and ticketing review... which will aim to make fares more transparent and simpler for the passenger. I think in an ideal world we wouldn't be having fare increases above inflation.'
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport said: "The impact of successive Government’s policies on rail fares is appalling. It’s truly shocking that we have deliberately made getting the train to work an extravagance that many struggle to afford. The time has come not just to stop the rises but to reduce fares."
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), said: "We understand commuters don’t like to pay more to travel to work but it is the government, not train companies, that decides how much season tickets should rise on average each year. Successive governments have required train companies to increase the average price of season tickets every January since 2004 by more than inflation. Ministers want passengers to pay a larger share of railway running costs to reduce the contribution from taxpayers while sustaining investment in better stations, new trains and faster services."
Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union, spits: "Passengers getting another inflation-busting kick in the teeth know that their hard-earned cash is being bled out of the railways and into the pockets of a bunch of spivs and chancers."