Campaigners and passengers descended on a key rail conference today to protest at the coalition government’s failure to deliver on their promise of fair fares, as season ticket increases look set to cost commuters as much as £127million next year alone.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the coalition, campaigners delivered a 50 metre fabric petition to transport secretary Philip Hammond MP as he arrived to deliver the conference keynote speech. The petition was made up of fabric train carriages with hand-stitched messages that illustrate the effects of record fare rises on passengers and the environment.
The protest comes a week before the long awaited publication of Sir Roy McNulty’s review of value for money in the rail industry, which is expected to suggest even higher peak time fares.
With regulated fares already set to rise four times faster than wages next year, the Government’s decision to continue to raise fares higher than inflation has been met with anger from commuters, particularly given the Liberal Democrats’ pre-election promise to cut train fares.
The protest was organised by Campaign for Better Transport who launched the Fair Fares Now campaign earlier in the year to call for cheaper, simpler and fairer rail ticketing.
Alexandra Woodsworth, Campaign for Better Transport’s Public Transport Campaigner, said:
“We are now one year on since the coalition pledged to make fares fair, but passengers are being forced to pay record prices to travel on the same or a worse service. Where is the fairness in that?
“The McNulty review is meant to identify ways to improve value for money for taxpayers and farepayers alike, but it seems that passengers are in danger of getting the raw end of the deal.”