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Train fares campaign comes to Kent

19 March 2010
Commuters in Kent will be asked to sign up for cheaper train fares Monday 22 March at Dartford, Sittingbourne, Rochester and Gravesend stations[1]. Campaigners will wear giant train tickets and give out campaign postcards to passengers and election candidates from the three main political parties have been invited to attend.

Campaign for Better Transport is calling on all parliamentary candidates in Kent to support a review of rail fares regulation, to bring down fares. So far, five candidates and six MPs have pledged their support for a review [2]. Nationally, over 150 MPs from all three main parties have backed Campaign for Better Transport’s call for a review of the way fares are regulated.

Cat Hobbs, the group’s public transport campaigner, said: “People in Kent have been hit by higher fare rises than anywhere else. The Government allows Southeastern’s regulated fares to go up 3% above inflation every year. We’re glad that many election candidates here are standing up for passengers and saying that the Government must review fares.”

Notes to editors:

[1] Campaign for Better Transport will be handing out postcards on Monday 22 March at the following stations and times:

8am – 9am Dartford station with John Adams, Labour PPC for Dartford

11.30am – 12.30pm Sittingbourne station, expected to be with Gordon Henderson, Conservative PPC for Sittingbourne and Sheppey

4 - 5pm Rochester station with Geoff Juby, Lib Dem PPC for Rochester and Strood

5.30 – 6.30pm Gravesend station with Kathryn Smith, Labour PPC for Gravesham and her team, and with James Willis, Lib Dem PPC for Dartford

[2] The candidates and MPs supporting a review of rail fares regulation are:
John Adams, Labour PPC for Dartford
James Willis, Lib Dem PPC for Dartford
Gwyn Prosser, Labour MP for Dover
Kathryn Smith, Labour PPC for Gravesham
Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald
Robert Marshall-Andrews, Labour MP for Medway
Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet
Geoff Juby, Lib Dem PPC for Rochester and Strood
Gordon Henderson, Conservative PPC for Sittingbourne & Sheppey
Derek Wyatt, Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey
Stephen Ladyman, Labour MP for South Thanet

Train fares have risen by 13% in real terms since 1997. (Hansard, 5 Feb 2010 : Column 534W.)  

Only 45% of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of their rail ticket. (Passenger Focus, National Passenger Survey, Autumn 2009.)

High fares are passengers’ top priority for improvement. (Passenger Focus, Passengers’ priorities for improvements in rail services, July 2007.)