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Plans for higher peak fares will derail Government’s fares review

8 March 2012
Responding to the Government’s rail policy announcements today (Thursday 8 March), Campaign for Better Transport has welcomed the commitment to end inflation-busting fares increases, but warned this would be overshadowed by proposals to allow even higher peak fares and plans for big fares increases for the next two years.

Sophie Allain, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said: "Today’s announcement contains many of the ideas we have called for, including discount fares for part-time workers and more smart and integrated ticketing. More powers for the regulator to take up passenger issues are welcome too. But all of this will be overshadowed if operators are allowed to charge premium fares on busiest services, which together with the existing plans for above inflation fares rises for the next two years, will mean massive fare increases for thousands of people. Closing ticket offices and station de-staffing will also be deeply unpopular with most passengers. Ultimately the Government's policy will be judged on whether we get a better and cheaper railway."

An online poll, conducted by YouGov for Campaign for Better Transport, revealed that only 14 per cent of people believe that raising fares on the busiest trains at a higher rate than other services is fair, whilst 63 per cent think the proposal is unfair for all passengers, even if it meant lower fares on some less busy services.

Campaign for Better Transport is encouraging people to take part in the fares review by tweeting their views using #farefail or completing this web form.

Notes to Editors

1. The Government published its Rail Command Paper and fares consultation today. Read the full fares consultation document here.

2. Online poll carried out by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2031 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22 and 24 February 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Respondents were asked “The amount that most rail fares rise each year is regulated by the Government. It has been proposed that train operating companies should be allowed to vary the amount that fares are increased by, so that the busiest services, for instance those used by commuters to arrive at work at 9am or inter-city trains on Friday evenings, will rise at a higher level than the overall increase. Some less busy services could see lower fare rises to balance this. Thinking specifically about the proposal, how fair or unfair do you think it is to all passengers to vary the amount that fares are increased by?”

3. Campaign for Better Transport launched the Fair Fares Now campaign in January 2011 to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail ticketing. Visit the website for more information www.fairfaresnow.org.uk

4. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).