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Public anger over rail fare increases as Fair Fares Now campaign launches

4 January 2011
Fair Fares Now, a new campaign by Campaign for Better Transport calling for cheaper, simpler and fairer train tickets, was launched today (4 January 2011) as commuters faced their first working day after season ticket fares rose by up to 12.8%.

The Fair Fares Now campaign will harness the widespread anger felt by passengers, and will ask the Government to keep their promise to make rail fares fair. The launch, held at Charing Cross Station, featured campaigners dressed as familiar Coalition faces David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as well as a Transport Secretary Philip Hammond lookalike dressed as a pickpocket. The campaigners' clear message was that by increasing fares year on year, many commuters feel that the Government is effectively "pickpocketing" passengers.

Millions of commuters, already facing pay cuts and reduced hours, have had to fork out an average 5.8% extra for their season tickets today, and up to 12.8% in some places, with prices set to soar another 25% by 2015.

Fair Fares Now was launched by sustainable transport charity Campaign for Better Transport. It will campaign for more affordable, straightforward train tickets that provide good value for money and encourage people to choose the train.

Alexandra Woodsworth, Public Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said:

"The astronomical fare rises that passengers face paying today could price many off our railways. Reducing road congestion, pollution and providing sustainable and affordable access to employment should be a priority, but instead commuters can expect a fare rise of 25 per cent by the next election.

"Our new Fair Fares Now campaign will give the public a voice to protest to the Government about this decision. We were promised "fair" rail fares by the Coalition and this campaign will show how important it is to passengers that the Government keep their promise."

Actor and comedian Michael Palin was the first to sign up to the Fair Fares Now campaign. He suggested a "better, simpler, more competitive fare structure" was needed.

To join the campaign visit www.fairfaresnow.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. High resolution photos of Michael Palin supporting Fair Fares Now and the Fair Fares Now launch are available to download here

Photo credits: Mike Russell. All photos are available to the media for free on behalf of Campaign for Better Transport.

2. The Fair Fares Now campaign is calling for affordable prices, even for peak times and turn-up-and-go tickets; reliable services that aren't overcrowded; and straightforward tickets that make train travel simple

3. The Government said in the Coalition agreement that "we are committed to fair pricing for rail travel" (The Coalition: Our Programme for Government, p31)

4. A poll by YouGov found that rail fare increases were the most unpopular policy announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, with 80% of Britons opposing the measure.