22 August 2012: Our successful demonstration last week is already getting results.
As a result of our successful demonstration on Tuesday 14 August, not only did the Transport Secretary say that she will be lobbying for the proposed fare rises to be decreased, a number of Conservative MPs also took up the issue and called on the government to drop its plans to increase rail fares by 3 per cent above inflation.
Two years ago an online poll, conducted by YouGov for Campaign for Better Transport, suggested that rises in train fares could lead to seats changing parties at the next election with passengers expressing anger at high increases in train fares. This is still likely to be the case - anger felt by commuters over train fare increases could decide seats at the next election.
Many MPs are now publicly attacking the fare rises. Simon Kirby, Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, said that “People here in Brighton rely on the rail service, whether that is for commuting to and from work or for pleasure. Any increase in the cost of tickets therefore has an impact on my constituents.
And Richard Drax, Conservative MP from South Dorset expressed his concerns that "train fares have been going up successively over the last ten years. Some are the highest in Europe. If prices continue to rise they will inevitably force passengers off the trains and onto the roads.”
Mark Reckless MP added: "These RPI linkages don't really make sense when wages are going up, if at all, far less than inflation... That just discourages work." And Sir John Standly from Kent even accused Ministers of exploiting commuters. And as the backbench rebellion builds, ordinary people - whether workers, students, pensioners or those looking for work - are all waiting for something that we should all have: an affordable public transport system and affordable rail fares.
Trains should not be a rich man’s toy only affordable for members of the "Train Toffs Club". We all hope the Chancellor finally gets it and cancels the planned extra rise next January.