Protests over planned rail fare hikes

Labour's Parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley Josh Fenton-Glynn (second from right) with protestors at Hebden Bridge Station
Labour's Parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley Josh Fenton-Glynn (second from right) with protestors at Hebden Bridge Station

Protests are being carried out nationally today (Tuesday) over planned rail fare hikes.

George Osborne is coming under pressure to cap rail fare increases as figures show ticket prices are rising almost four times faster than wages.

Regulated fares, which includes season tickets, are set based on July’s inflation figure which will be published this morning and are expected to be around 2.6 per cent.

With the Government committed to setting fares at one per cent above inflation, commuters between York and Leeds could see their season ticket go up in January by more than £70 to £2,097.

Some passengers could take a further hit as train companies have the freedom to raise certain fares by an extra two per cent in return for limiting rises on other routes.

Martin Abrams, public transport campaigner for the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “With people’s wages stagnating and in some cases falling, the expense of taking the train to work has become a huge part of living costs.

“If the Government doesn’t put an end to above-inflation fare increases quickly, ordinary commuters will be priced off the train and could be forced into agonizing decisions such as moving house or quitting their jobs.”

The January rise in regulated fares will take the total increase since 2010 to close to 25 per cent compared to a rise in average wages of almost seven per cent.

Northern Rail passengers in Yorkshire are already facing higher prices next month as the company introduces new evening peak tickets.

Locally, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley Josh Fenton-Glynn is at Hebden Bridge Station protesting about the planned rises.

He Tweeted: “Outside Hebden Bridge station letting people know about the rail price rises.

“Good team out today letting people know about the £50 rise in season tickets from Hebden to Leeds & £66 to Manchester

“Great morning leafleting outside Hebden Bridge station. Really positive response a lot of anger at price rises.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The last Labour government oversaw year after year of inflation busting fare rises – a mammoth 11 per cent in their last full year. They have no credibility when it comes to talking about the railways.

“We fully recognise there’s more to do to bring down the cost of rail travel in Britain. But we need to do it responsibly and we can’t spend money we don’t have. What Labour are proposing today is an uncosted spending commitment that would mean over £100 million more government borrowing – adding more debt than our children and grandchildren could ever hope to repay.”