Anger at Train Companies' inflation busting fares increase
Liberal Democrats in Hinckley and Bosworth have called on the CrossCountry and East Midlands Trains, Rail Companies to abandon their plans to impose a 6% rise in the price of regulated fares, season tickets and saver tickets.
The increase in ticket prices not regulated by the government is to be an even steeper 7.4% for East Midlands Trains, whilst CrossCountry's 11% is, higher than any other rail company.
The announcement of the inflation-busting fares hike on 21st November was met with an angry response by Bosworth Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman Michael Mullaney
"Local train passengers are being hit for six by the Rail Companies" said Michael Mullaney. "At a time when people are struggling with the recession, these train companies are adding to people's difficulties by planning such big fare increases.
"These rises could make the recession worse in Leicestershire and could lead to more congestion and pollution as people abandon public transport for their car instead.
"I am calling on the government to step in and use the power they have over regulated fares to impose a freeze on ticket prices for a year. This could be paid for from within the Government's road-widening budget."
Cllr David Bill leader of Hinckley and Bosworth council and a local railway campaigner said "Just as the Government stepped in to freeze fuel duty for motorists because of the recession, they should change their mind and stop these rail price increases going ahead.
"Rail passengers will rightly feel that they are being taken for a ride by the Rail companies. They have every right to feel angry with this price hike and with the Government for letting it happen."
The Government has agreed that the ticket price increases can come into effect on 2nd January 2009.
The increase in regulated fares, season tickets and saver tickets, takes place under a government regulation allowing rises up to RPI+1% (one per cent above the retail price index) and up to RPI+3% on Southeastern and some Northern Rail trains. Unregulated fares will rise by a greater amount.
This news release can be used to argue that in the recession, the Government needs to treat rail passengers in the same way as motorists who have previously had petrol duty frozen.
Individual train company fare increases are:
COMPANY REGULATED UNREGULATED
Arriva Trains Wales 6% 6%
c2c 6% 6%
Chiltern Railways 6% 7.5%
CrossCountry 6% 11%
East Midlands Trains 6% 7.4%
First Capital Connect 6% 9%
First Great Western 6% 6.6%
First ScotRail 6% 6%
First TransPennine Express 6% 6.4%
London Midland 6% 0%
Merseyrail 5% 5%
National Express East Anglia 6% 6%
National Express East Coast 6% 7.4%
Northern Rail 6% 7%
Southeastern 8% 6%
Southern 6% 6%
South West Trains 6% 7.2%
Virgin Trains 6% 7%
AVERAGE 6% 7