Rail Fare Hikes
Government plans to steam ahead with inflation-busting hikes to rail fares will push cash-strapped commuters back into their cars, says West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass.
West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass, who is a member of the EU’s Transport Committee, fears traffic congestion could further choke British roads as a result of colossal rail fare increases which will pose a major threat to the future of train travel in the UK.
Mr Nattrass says rising fares, which are due to come into force from January, will put a red flag in front of country’s floundering economy and prove the Government’s approach to transport is ill-thought out and shambolic.
Unions and passenger groups have expressed their dismay over the controversial move which will allow rail companies to increase rail fares by three percent above RPI inflation.
Further worries have also been raised over news announced today that Virgin Trains had lost its West Coast mainline franchise, which runs through the West Midlands, to FirstGroup.
Transport union the RMT have claimed the move could significantly push up fare prices on the West Coast line and lead to job losses.
Commenting this week, Mr Nattrass said: “The Government’s transport policy is shambolic. On the one hand Ministers say they want to create a cost effective rail system then on the other hand they want to spend billions of pounds on the white elephant HS2 high speed rail project.
“It was not too long ago that Transport Secretary Justine Greening talked about affordability and the rail system. Now the Government says it will allow train companies to increase fares well above the rate of inflation.
“This coalition Government should be promoting public transport use and should not be making policy that will in fact do the reverse. Higher rail fares will result in further car use and congestion on our roads,” he added.
Joe Rukin, Campaign Coordinator for Stop HS2, said: “It’s the user pays philosophy. Increased fares will just see more people pile into their cars while the Government wants to waste billions on HS2.”
By Mike Nattrass MEP