Local MP puts pressure on Minister over rail fare price hikes

January 29, 2009 10:05 AM

Mark calling for the Minister to agree to a one year freeze on rail fares

Cheadle constituency MP, Mark Hunter, this week put pressure on the Transport Minister regarding the huge increases in rail fares under Labour.

During Transport Questions Mr Hunter asked the Minister how much rail fares had increased under Labour but received an unsubstantial reply. In fact Liberal Democrat calculations show that rail fares that are regulated by the Government have increased by a staggering 43%, or 0.7% above inflation since 1997. While unregulated fares rose by 77% or 35% in real terms. In January 2009 the Government allowed an inflation-busting 6% increase in regulated fares.

Mr Hunter then went on to ask if the Government would commit to a one year freeze on regulated fares to help out families who are struggling with the recession and to encourage more people to choose trains over cars.

Speaking after the question was asked Mr Hunter said, "It's ridiculous that the Government is asking people to pay more and more for their rail travel while the service continues to deteriorate. A 6% increase this year, while people are struggling with the recession is just adding insult to injury.

"Commuters, leisure travellers and shoppers all deserve a good service and the Government has just failed to deliver it, despite putting prices up year on year. When is the Minister going to realise that what we need is real investment in our railways - to open old lines and stations, electrify lines, and add more carriages and services.

We need passengers to be given a fair deal on prices - we have the most expensive rail fares in Europe and one of the worst services. If passengers are paying more they expect and deserve real improvements - less overcrowding, more carriages, less cancellations and more trains leaving on time. Instead the service is getting worse - the Government should re-think and allow a one year freeze on rail fare increases to help out families through this hard time."

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