Euro MP Peter Skinner is calling for the Government to “give commuters a break” after it emerged train passengers could face new peak-time fare rises as part of Government plans for the railways.
The proposals unveiled on Thursday could also see guards axed and ticket offices closed, with travellers buying from libraries, Post Offices and shops.
Fares are already higher during the 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm rush hours – yet dearer “super peak” prices for half-hour time slots within those periods are planned.
The Government has already pushed through inflation busting ticket price rises this year and further hikes are planned for next year.
MEP Peter Skinner fears that “super peak” fares would be imposed without other price cuts:
“We are once again seeing hard pressed commuters being squeezed. The Government is in danger of turning the railways into a rich man’s toy.
“This long-awaited rail strategy is a wasted opportunity to address the structural issues left from the botched rail privatisation.
“Instead the Government is creating an even more fragmented and costly structure. And at the same time, there is more freedom for companies to hike fares, cut services, booking offices and frontline staff. Passengers are having to pay more to plug the gap in the transport budget.
“I want the Government to act now to help passengers. A serious plan for reform of the industry would put more power in the hands of passengers and local communities, not the private train companies.”