6 December 2010: Evidence that punitive fare hikes will force commuters to drive to work has dealt yet another blow to the Government’s promise of fair pricing in rail travel.
Seven per cent of those surveyed for a new study by recruitment agency Reed – equivalent to 2 million workers – plan to change the way they get to work in order to avoid paying astronomical fare increases in the New Year. The number of people planning to commute to work by car is set to double in London, and increase by 6 per cent across the country. Some workers are even planning to move house or change jobs altogether because they can’t afford the increases.
We simply can’t afford rail fare increases on the scale the Government is proposing – not if we’re to have any hope of meeting our climate change commitments, and not if we want to make sure that the economies of our major cities remain competitive. We shouldn't ignore the fact that a recruitment agency is taking an interest in the impact of fare rises on employment, and Bloomberg's BusinessWeek is reporting it.
The rail infrastructure investment announced last week will be cold comfort to those who won’t be able to afford to take the train in the first place.
Meanwhile, those sticking with the train will be paying massively over the odds for years before any improvements are seen. The new trains that are being delivered are concentrated in the London area, meaning that overcrowding will continue to blight the lives of commuters in many other areas, particularly in the North. Overall, the number of new trains to be provided by 2014 is half of what was promised by the previous government.
So far, the government that promised us fair fares when it came to power has introduced the most expensive fare rises in a generation, and is in no way on track to adequately address overcrowding. Seven months in, the Coalition is utterly failing to deliver fair fares – join us and help make them keep their promise.