16 July 2013
Passengers are demanding that Government end a decade of spiralling rail fares. A petition organised by Campaign for Better Transport and delivered to the Department for Transport today (16 July) (1) calls on Government to use the Fares and Ticketing Review to meet its pledge to bring above inflation fares rises to an end.
Richard Hebditch, Campaigns Director, Campaign for Better Transport said:
"When the Coalition came to power in 2010, they said they would make rail fares fair. Three years later, ticket prices are still climbing and passengers are still waiting. It's time for Government to stop the delays and come clean. Will they make fares affordable or will they carry on with the price hikes and force more people off the trains?"
Richard Hebditch continued:
“The Coalition has repeatedly said it wants to make rail fares fair and bring the era of inflation busting ticket price increases to an end. But the outcome of the Fares and Ticketing Review begun in March 2012 still hasn't been published and another above inflation increase in fares for 2014 will be announced next month. Passengers want to know if the words will ever be matched with action. They need a definite date to end such rises."
Since coming to power, the Government record on rail fares is:
- May 2010: Publication of the Coalition Programme for Government includes a commitment to 'fair pricing for rail travel.'
- October 2010: Spending Review announces an intention for regulated rail fares to continue to rise by 3% above inflation each year from 2012-2015.
- January 2011: Regulated rail fares go up by an average of 6.2%
- May 2011: Department for Transport announces its intention to undertake a Fares and Ticketing Review as part of their response to the McNulty review of value for money in the rail industry. Then Secretary of State Philip Hammond claimed that the efficiencies from the review would “put the era of inflation-busting fare increases behind us”.
- January 2012: Regulated rail fares go up by 6%
- March - June 2012: Rail Fares and Ticketing Review is consulted on. The review is launched with the statement that "Rail fare increases will be capped at the rate of inflation under plans to help hard-pressed passengers by ensuring the rail industry brings down the cost of Britain’s railways." and to allow "more passengers to travel by rail." The outcome of the review is still unpublished and is currently planned for release over the summer.
- October 2012: Government abandons plans to raise regulated fares by RPI inflation plus 3% after widespread criticism of the policy, including from a number of backbench Conservative MPs representing commuter constituencies.
- January 2013: Regulated rail fares rise by an average of 4.2%
- June 2013: Spending Round indicates no change to the policy of above inflation fares increases before the next General Election in 2015.
- Summer 2013: The Fares and Ticketing Review is due to be published (originally planned to come out before the summer recess)
- August 2013: Level of further above inflation increase in ticket prices for 2014 to be announced.
1. On 16 July, Campaign for Better Transport delivered a 7,000 signature-strong Fair Fares Now petition to the Department for Transport calling for the Government to name the day that it will finally deliver its promise to end above inflation fare rises to prevent more passengers being priced off the railway.
Pictures of the petition being handed in by Fair Fares Now campaigners are available from Campaign for Better Transport.