Monday, 9 May 2011

Government tackled over rising train fares and complex ticketing

Cambridge Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert has tackled the government over rising train fares and the complex ticket pricing system, asking whether its new rail franchise scheme will help commuters.
He sought assurances from Transport Minister, Philip Hammond, that he would take steps to ensure that rail fares under the new scheme do not rise “at the huge rates we have seen recently and start to level out”.
Julian also asked whether the fares scheme would be “simpler and easier to understand”.
Mr Hammond agreed that the fares system had been “incredibly complex and passengers had been facing a high level of fares”.
“The only way we can tackle the high level of fares is to make our railway more efficient,” he said. “We are determined to do so.”
And he added that the government would soon be receiving and publishing the review Value for Money on the Railway, carried out by Sir Roy McNulty to identify the factors pushing up costs on the UK rail network.
Julian said: “I am encouraged that the government is committed to making our railways more efficient and in so doing, hopefully making the hugely complicated fares system simpler and easier to understand for passengers.
“We have faced massive rises in ticket prices in recent years and in many cases, passengers’ salaries have failed to keep pace. In fact, the increased cost has meant that many have effectively taken a pay cut just to get to work while at the same time travelling on services which are overcrowded and at times, unreliable.
“They should not be expected to have to put up with this. I hope the review will give the government a clear indication of what needs to be done to improve our railways and give us better value for money.”