Monday, 13 August 2012

Huppert Fights To Keep Rail Fares Down

Julian Huppert MP at Cambridge Railway
Station

MP Julian Huppert has called on the government to keep rail fares down as it prepares to announce tomorrow (August 14) the latest inflation figures on which fare increases are based.

He fears the figures will lead to the Conservatives pushing for a three per cent above inflation rise.

But he wants rail fares to come down in real terms and has expressed his concerns in a letter to Transport Minister, Justine Greening.

Julian told her that a huge increase was unacceptable when “family budgets are extremely tight and our railways are already among the most expensive in the world.”

He called for fares to be brought down to one per cent below inflation funded by savings recommended in the McNulty review.

And he said fare structures must be “simple and comprehensible” with passengers always made aware of the cheapest possible ticket to suit their needs.

Julian said: “Both Labour and Conservative want to put rail fares up faster than inflation. The Lib Dems are the only party pushing for below inflation increases.

“Britain has the most expensive railway network in Europe, up to 30 per cent more than our nearest competitors.

“The reason for this is that Labour chronically mismanaged our railways, and passed on their failure to fare payers. Tickets went up 66 per cent in cash terms between 1997 and 2010 - 13 per cent in real terms. Astonishingly, they still want to raise fares above inflation.

“People are struggling to make ends meet against a backdrop of wage freezes and rising utility bills; how can they be expected to absorb huge rises in rail fares on top?

“The McNulty review showed us where we could save money on the railways and we should be using some of that money to make rail travel more affordable for all passengers.

“Rail fares must fall in real terms if we are to help already over-burdened families and signal the government’s support for rail as a viable, affordable means of travel in this country.

“As a regular commuter, I know the price people pay to travel on overcrowded, unreliable trains and it is already too high.”