Lib Dems call for a rail fare freeze
The Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on rail fares. This following the announcement last month that the Retail Price Index rose by 1.6% in July, this is the figure usually used to calculate the increase in fares at the end of the year.
The Liberal Democrats suggest that any increase in fares would be "a slap in the face" for consumers. Given the significant drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19, the Party is calling for fare freezes to help restore confidence in the railways.
The Party want to see additional funding to increase capacity and build a network "fit for the future", vital if the UK Government are serious about cutting emissions and reducing air pollution.
Leicestershire Liberal Democrat County Councillor Michael Mullaney said:
"Any plans to go ahead with a fare increase this year will be a slap in the face for consumers.
"Our railways are a key part of a sustainable transport network, vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and cut air pollution. Rather than putting off commuters with yet another price hike, the Government must help the industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis. This means freezing fares and investing to increase capacity to make sure we have a rail network that is fit for the future.
"In our area commuters are still waiting for improvements to our local rail services. We need half hourly, not hourly trains running through Hinckley if we want people to use the rail service instead of cars. And we need the government to finally agree to deliver the electrification of the Midland Mainline through Leicestershire. People in Leicestershire deserve the cleaner, greener, faster trains that this would provide.
Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:
"Liberal Democrats want to see a freeze on fares until the next election. We also want to see the Conservative Government publish and implement the Rail Review, reform our broken ticket system and stop micromanaging the railways. These changes will help restore confidence in UK railways."
Notes to editors:
Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on "regulated fares" - these are the ticket prices regulated by the government and cover most commuter fares and season tickets. Roughly 34% of fares are "regulated fares."
In September 2018, the government commissioned a "root and branch" review of the railways led by former CEO of British Airways Keith Williams - the Conservatives have still not published his findings.
Similarly, the industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) have called for a wholescale reform of our ticketing system making it more flexible and easier to understand - particularly to suit the increase in flexible working during lockdown.
Liberal Democrats would: