Monday, 5 January 2015

Rip-Off Railways? Lancaster Labour candidate slams rail fare rises

Cat Smith at Lancaster Railway Station
Cat Smith, the Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, has hit out at new rail fare rises which mean season tickets for people living in Lancaster up by as much as 29% per cent since 2010.

Since 2010, she notes, the Coalition Government has allowed the train companies to hit passengers in Lancaster with massive fare rises of over 20 per cent since 2010. The new fare rises came into effect on 2nd January 2015.

Locally, a season ticket from Lancaster to Manchester has gone up by 23%, from £2,648 to £3,264. And, a season ticket from Morecambe to Lancaster for people has gone up by 29%, from £416 to £536.

As the run up to the General Election begins in May, Cat  says she will campaign for a better deal for passengers and taxpayers, arguing this can be achieved by reforming the railways, simplifying the ticketing system and enforcing a strict cap on fares on every route.

Labour say they will give passengers a voice in how the railways are run and stop passengers getting fleeced at ticket machines by making it a legal right for passengers to be sold the cheapest available ticket for their journey.

“David Cameron is presiding over a rip-off railway in Britain," says Cat. "He has failed to stand up for working people in Lancaster struggling with the cost‐of‐living crisis and has allowed the train companies to hit passengers with massive fare rises of over 20 per cent since 2010.

“Some season tickets for passengers living in Lancaster have now risen by over 29 per cent under this Government, forcing people to pay thousands of pounds more to commute to work on increasingly overcrowded trains.

“Out‐of‐touch Ministers talk about 'fair fares for comfortable commuting', but this is a world away from the reality for millions of hard‐up commuters living in Lancaster.”

• In 2012, both sitting Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw and Morecambe MP David Morris voted to allow individual rail fares to be increased by more than the amount of the Government's cap on average increases. The majority of MPs voted to allow rail fares to be increased by more than the amount of the Government's cap on increases.

At the time of the vote the Government's cap applied to the average rail fare so enabled some fares to rise in excess of the cap if they were balanced by decreases elsewhere.

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