26th Oct, 2016

Rail commuters facing a 'cocktail of despair'

Evesham Editorial 22nd Jan, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A ‘COCKTAIL of commuter despair’ has reached boiling point, according to a Worcestershire councillor.

Coun Richard Udall pointed out issues including overcrowding, unclean trains and unreliable timetables during a discussion about the cost of rail tickets.

He said rises were ‘unjust, unfair and without justification’ adding privatisation had not created competition but had instead encouraged the companies to take as much as they could from customers.

“The rail companies take more and more from the travelling public and give nothing back.” he added.

Members of the council had put forward a motion asking for the leader to call for improvements and changes to enable local

authorities to be able to co-ordinate their services, oversee stations and ensure customer satisfaction across the network.

They also wanted the chief executive to write to MPs in the area to seek their support and the Government to cap annual fare rises on every route, simplify fare structures and create a new legal right to the cheapest ticket.

The motion said: “This council is concerned about the recent increase in the cost of season tickets and fares for trains leaving Worcestershire stations.

“With an ever increasing number of commuters from across the county using rail to get to work, college or university the increase in fares is having a crippling impact and is significantly adding to the cost of living crisis for many hardworking

Worcestershire families.”

But Coun Lucy Hodgson said she could not support the motion as motorists paid car tax to use the roads so rail commuters needed to pay what the fees actually cost.

“You can get much cheaper fees if you just pay in advance and look what’s out there. You do have to pay the correct fares and shouldn’t just be subsidising them to that extent.”

The motion was eventually voted down with 32 votes against and 19 for.