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Passenger Group Say No to Rail Fares Increase

By Kevin Alderson, Jan 11 2015 11:13PM

PRESS RELEASE OR LETTER ON BEHALF OF TYNE AND WEAR PUBLIC TRANSPORT USERS GROUP

Passenger Group Say No to Rail Fares Increase

Who Benefits from the latest increase in Rail Fares?

Dear sir/madam,

Tyne & Wear Public Transport Users Group (T&WPTUG) condemns the recent increases in rail fares of 2.5% as bordering on extortion and has little to do with the maintenance or improvement of a public service. It is the direct result of Government policy which is using public money to subsidise the private sector. UK rail fares have risen above inflation again this New Year, and the same Government policy has meant an incredible rise of 27% in rail fares since 2010. Have wages in the UK risen by this amount? No.

Comparison of rail fares between the UK and other European countries highlight the

unfairness of this. For example, Italian and Spanish commuters pay 6% of their salaries, Germans pay 9% while here, in Britain, the rail user is charged over 17%.or £4.6 billion pounds in fares more than their French counterparts. Isn’t it time people began to ask why? We in the Tyne & Wear Public Transport Users Group suggest the answer lies in the fact that all our rail franchises are with private companies, which exist to make a profit for the shareholders who invest in those companies.

A further example of the government’s policy of privatisation is the gift it has just made of the East Coast line, formerly owned by the taxpayer but now handed over to the private sector; despite being run very efficiently and contributing £1 billion to the public purse since its bail out in 2009, when the last National Express jumped ship. Isn’t it time we asked whose interests this government actually serves for it certainly is not the rail user or the people who depend on that service?

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As a Tyne and Wear Group that represents over twenty community organisations and groups with an interest in developing and improving all forms of public transport, we are totally opposed to the new introduction of fare rises by the major rail companies. This has happened at a time of so-called austerity, while the vast profits that go to the shareholders of the rail companies are being maintained at the expense of the ordinary travelling public. Many of those rail travellers will now no longer be able to afford the already high fares, which will mean more misery for many not being able to travel and visit families and friends, and higher costs for those who have to work away from their families in Tyne and Wear, and commute back at weekends.

T&WPTUG is researching and campaigning for an integrated publicly owned transport system on behalf of the travelling public, who need a reliable, comfortable and cheap system of buses, metro and rail. The private rail companies, just as with the buses, are subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £4 billion a year so why are their fares so high? Answer, because this government supports them making such vast profits.

UK rail fare rises are a scandal, and it’s time passengers stood up and had their voices heard. Make yours heard today. E mail ;- public.enquiries@hm-treasury.gsi.gov.uk. This is the way to complain to the Treasury department of the Government. In addition please write to your M.P.

Yours sincerely,

Vicki Gilbert Chair Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group


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