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Spending Review: everyday transport will crumble and fares will soar, say Campaign for Better Transport

20 October 2010
Commenting on the transport part of the spending review, Campaign for Better Transport said that the Government must not use funding for a few big transport projects as a smokescreen for massive fare increases [1] and cuts to spending on existing roads and services.

Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, Stephen Joseph, said:

"The Chancellor's statement focuses on large-scale transport projects but the reality is cuts in funding for everyday transport. These projects should not be used as a smokescreen to cover up service cuts and rocketing fares on our buses and trains. Understandably, this will enrage people across the country who rely on these essential services [2].

"We are appalled at the Government's plan to allow rail fares to rise so far above the inflation rate. Hard-working commuters who depend on the train face paying over £1,000 more for their annual season ticket by the time of the next election. These eye-watering rises are unacceptable at a time when we should be growing the railways in order to tackle congestion on our roads and reduce carbon emissions in line with Government targets."

Notes to editors

1. Examples of the rise in the cost of an annual season ticket by 2015 include:

Milton Keynes to London: £5,026 (increase from 2010: £1,194)

Gillingham to London: £4,995 (increase from 2010: £1,187)

Reading to London: £4,444 (increase from 2010: £ 1,056)

Brighton to London: £4,071(increase from 2010: £967)

Increased costs for season tickets and train routes in 2015 were calculated by Campaign for Better Transport as follows: Data was gathered from National Rail Enquiries for current ticket costs, and official inflation forecasts for 2011 – 2014 from the June 2010 budget. The cost of each year’s inflation +1% was calculated for 2010-2012, and inflation + 3% for 2012 – 2015, as announced by the Chancellor in today’s spending review. Figures quoted include High Speed premium where applicable. National Rail Enquiries season ticket calculator.

2. Commuter anger at fare rises: a recent YouGov poll for Campaign for Better Transport showed 74% of commuters (who take the train 4 to 7 times a week) in London and the Home Counties could switch their support away from parties that introduce a rise in the cap on rail fare increases.

3. A recent report, Transport, Social Equality and Welfare to Work, published jointly by Citizens Advice and the Campaign for Better Transport showed that poor transport links prevented people finding and holding on to work, and that most people on unemployment benefit relied on buses to get to work.

4. Smarter cuts: Campaign for Better Transport published a Smarter Cuts Report in June 2010. The report showed how ‘smarter’ spending cuts could protect public transport. Lower fares make it easier for people to get to work, increase disposable income, boost the economy and increase tax revenue.

5. High fares: since 1997 train fares have risen in real terms by 13% while the cost of motoring has fallen by 14%. Train fares in the UK are 20% above the European average. (Source: Hansard, 5 Feb 2010: Column 534W)