When we launched our Fair Fares Now campaign back in 2011 we were staring down the barrel of three years of inflation plus three per cent fare rises. Largely due to the huge amount of media coverage we managed to secure through the campaign, the government backed down and dropped those staggering rises.
That's not all, in the last seven years we’ve also seen an end to the notorious five per cent 'flex' which allowed rail companies to raise some tickets much more steeply than the average; a commitment to smart ticketing; and recognition - if not any actual tickets yet - that people who commute part-time should have some sort of ticket available to them.
We have achieved many of the original aims of the campaign and we felt it was time to address other issues which we know are important to you. We know high fares are still a problem, but they aren't the only thing wrong with our railways. Too often the things customers like to see are not being expanded across the network. We want to see the best parts of the railway on every part of the railway.
That’s why we’ll be launching a new rail campaign - the Passenger Railway Challenge – later this month. This new campaign will still include affordability at its heart, but also many of the other factors that go into making a great railway. The Passenger Railway Challenge aims to get the Government, train operators and the railway industry in general to be more focused on what passengers want.
Some of you have already helped us to name the campaign, now we’d like your help in shaping its demands. We want to know what you like about the railway and how it could be made better.
We're going to be collecting your views over the next few weeks on all aspects of your rail experience so we can get an idea of what's most important to you. Look out for our polls on social media with the hashtag #railwaychallenge, and for more information on our website. We really appreciate your help in shaping this important campaign.
Fair Fares Now wouldn't have been the success it was without your support, but it's time to move on. We're really excited about the new campaign and I hope you are too.