9 December 2011: With fares still rising year after year now is the time to build on our success.
This autumn saw a bitter-sweet victory for the Fair Fares Now campaign. The Government decided to ease this year’s fare rises, shifting their policy of ‘inflation plus 3%’ to ‘inflation plus 1%’. This was certainly a welcome step in the right direction; but this does not change the fact that we still have the most expensive trains in Europe. With inflation at 5% commuters will nevertheless face a 6% fare rise in the New Year if they are lucky. If they are not so lucky their fares could go up by 11% or even more.
Looking forward to 2013 and 2014 the forecast is even bleaker, with no movement at all on the planned ‘inflation plus 3%’ fare rises over the next two years. Imagining ticket prices 24% higher than now makes me shudder, but this is what is expected by 2015. We are being taken further and further away from the value for money rail service that we desperately need.
However, what was perhaps most important about the Government change of heart this year, was that is proves that campaigning really works. High profile media attention, thousands signatures on our petition and hundreds of people out protesting at stations, all added to the political pressure.
This is why we are pushing forwards with the campaign, joining with other organisations to promote a national day of commuter action on 3 January 2012. Plans are afoot for a very modern protest, using twitter and text messaging services to allow commuters have their voices heard from the comfort of their train seat (or from the vestibule area if they are packed, standing on an overcrowded train!)
Keep your eyes and ears open, because more information about 3 January will follow shortly.
A guest post by Sophie Allain, who is covering Alexandra’s role while on maternity leave