7 November 2011: Jenny Agutter of Railway Children fame joined us this morning in presenting the Fair Fares Now petition to Number 10 Downing Street.
Ironically, delayed trains meant that Jenny and several journalists almost didn’t make it – which happens far too often and is just one of the things commuters tell us makes them so angry about more massive fare rises.
But we got there in the end and marched up to the famous front door. Amid a flurry of photographers’ flashbulbs, we handed over a box containing more than 11,000 signatures from passengers demanding that the Government rethink its plans to penalise passengers with a 28% fare hike by 2015.
A big thank-you to every one of you who signed or helped to gather support for the petition – and rest assured that this is by no means the last stop for the campaign! This month we are organising an event in Parliament to brief MPs about what passengers want from the upcoming fares review, and exciting plans are in the works to make the Government sit up and take notice of passenger anger this coming January. Even if fares go up in 2012, we need to keep fighting to make sure this doesn’t happen at the same rate for the next three years as planned – or worse, become a new annual fixture.
We also need to make sure that the Government comes clean about just why they are raising fares.
They claim that fare rises are necessary to reduce the amount of taxpayer money spent on the railways. But we’ve discovered that in fact the Government’s contribution is already on the decline and official figures show the target of only 25 per cent taxpayer support for the railways is set to be met without the need for these new fare hikes – for one year, let alone three or more.
In other words, the Government is misleading passengers and trying to disguise a political choice as a necessity. With inflation at a 20 year high and millions of commuters already struggling on frozen wages, new Transport Secretary Justine Greening needs to realise that this tax on passengers is the wrong choice at the wrong time.