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New poll shows train fares could swing London commuter votes

2 April 2010
Nearly 40% of London voters and over a quarter in Southern England say that political parties pledging to cut train fares could influence the way they vote, according to a new poll. (1) The London commuter belt contains large numbers of marginal constituencies and has been identified as key to the election result. (2)

Over a quarter of all MPs are now calling for a review of rail fares regulation, rising to 36% in London.(3) Many prospective parliamentary candidates also support the call.

In marginal constituencies with high numbers of commuters, support from election candidates is particularly high. (4)

Cat Hobbs, the group’s public transport campaigner, said:
‘MPs and prospective MPs are realising that train fares are a real issue for voters. Train fares in the UK are the highest in the world. The Government regulates prices so that they keep rising above inflation every year. We’re pressing all political parties to commit to reviewing fares regulation to change this.’

The Liberal Democrats pledged to back the campaign at the weekend and went further than a review, promising to cut train fares if elected. (5)

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Mori for Campaign for Better Transport, which has been campaigning to cut train fares.

Notes to editors

(1) Respondents were asked ‘If a political party was committed to reducing the price of train fares, would that make you more likely to vote for them, less likely to vote for them, or would it make no difference?’
Percentage more likely to vote for a political party with such a commitment:
London 39%
South East 27%
South West 27%
Eastern 29%
Full results available.

(2) http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/02/my-day-out-with-the-thameslink...

(3) There are 171 MPs calling for a review of rail fares regulation http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/train-fares/mps-rail-review
That is 26% of the total 646 MPs or more than 1 in 4 MPs.
17 Conservative MPs
93 Labour MPs
49 Liberal Democrat MPs
12 other MPs

There are 27 MPs in London constituencies calling for a review, 36% of the total 74 MPs

(4) In St Albans (2.9% margin), the MP and all candidates support the campaign, support for the campaign from election candidates is high in Gillingham and Rainham (0.0% margin), Sittingbourne and Sheppey (0.1% margin), Dartford (1.9% margin)
More details available.

(5) The Liberal Democrats have pledged to change the formula for regulated fares from RPI+1% to RPI-1% so that they fall in real terms instead of rising above inflation.