Friday, 26 December 2014

Cambridge MP calls for rail fares to be made more affordable

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has continued his campaign to reduce rail fares, and has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament ahead of the latest increase coming into effect, saying that rail fares are already too high and need to be reduced in real terms, to make train travel more affordable for commuters and other railway users.

Julian said “I have been lobbying the Government every year about this important issue. Many people use our railway system to travel, whether it be to and from work, to visit friends and family, or for leisure. The fact that the UK has some of the most expensive train fares in the world already is a cause for concern, as we should be looking to encourage people to use the train to ease congestion and pollution, rather than put them off by increasing what are already high costs.”

“The Labour government had a deliberate policy to make train users pay more, by increasing rail fares above inflation year after year. That’s why rail fares went up a colossal 66% under Labour. Although this government continued the increases, thanks to pressure from me and my colleagues that has now been reduced, so rail fares go up in line with inflation only. That’s an improvement, but I want to go further. I want to see rail fares reduced in real terms, to make rail travel more affordable for all.”

“I hope that Labour and Tories alike will abandon their policies of rail fare increases, and agree with me and fellow Liberal Democrats that fares are already too high and need to be reduced.”

The full text of the EDM reads as below, and has received support from Lib Dem, Labour, and Tory MPs:

RAIL FARES

That this House expresses its concern that rail fares are too high, making it expensive for commuters and other travellers to travel by train; notes that from 2004 onwards the then Government set as its policy on rail fares that they should go up by one per cent above the retail price index (RPI) each year; further notes that this policy was continued under the current Government until 2012; further notes that it was then replaced with a policy of RPI-only increases; welcomes this reduction and the end of the era of above-inflation raises in rail fares, but believes that rail fares are currently too high; and calls on the Government to ensure that rail fares are reduced in real terms.