Fed-up commuters make protest over price hikes - The Evesham Observer

Fed-up commuters make protest over price hikes

Evesham Editorial 12th Jan, 2019   0

FED-UP Vale rail commuters were joined on the platform by members of Evesham Labour Party for a protest at further price hikes for travelling by train.

Rail fares increased by an average of almost three per cent in Scotland and 3.1 per cent in England and Wales on January 2 and Labour members braved the cold to join the national campaign to explain the party’s alternative plans for the railways and protest at the price rises.

They spoke to passengers boarding and leaving peak hour morning and evening trains at Evesham railway station and distributed leaflets exposing the 36 per cent rise in fares under the current government, the vastly higher fares in the UK than in most other European countries and the poor service from many private rail companies.

Plans for a Labour government to bring railways under public ownership, cap fares and invest in the network rather than pay dividends to share holders were also explained to rail users.

Most regular commuters from Evesham, as well as occasional rail users, agreed despite better carriages on offer, a more reliable and affordable service was needed before fare increases could be justified.

David Haslam, chair of Evesham Labour Party, said: “I have just returned from Worcester and after paying the increased fare the train was already 35 minutes late reaching Evesham.

“People might not mind so much paying more if the trains ran on time.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling defended the price rises and attempted to blame unions such as the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union for ‘demanding higher pay rises than anyone else’.

In response Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The British fare-payer has been battered by the toxic combination of gross mismanagement and profiteering by the private companies exploiting Britain’s rip-off railways.

“Our passengers have been left paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed out and unreliable services and that is a national disgrace. The only solution is to sweep this whole racket away and return our railways to public ownership.”

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