Calls for train fare hike to be scrapped

Commuters at Bolton station

Commuters at Bolton station

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , politics reporter

POLITICIANS and commuters have joined forces to call for a planned 3.5 per cent hike in train fares to be scrapped.

David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, said passengers deserved a better deal and declared the fares a ‘rip off’.

A 3.5 per cent increase would see the price of a year-long season ticket between Bolton and Manchester go up £33.74, costing commuters a total of £997.74.

A peak-time day return would go up from £6.30 to £6.55.

And Bolton residents will be further hit, after Northern Rail announced from September 8 off-peak tickets will be banned between 4pm and 6.30pm.

Mr Crausby said the latest increase means fares have risen more than 24 per cent since David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010 — and some ticket prices could go up.as much as 5.5 per cent.

He added: “Once again we are seeing a round of fare increases with no clear gains for passengers.

“Commuters have their wage squeezed more and more, and they’re punished further for wanting to catch trains at more popular times.

“This comes right after local train operators have decided to make journeys even more confusing and expensive by creating an evening peak period.”

Deana Morris used to travel by train from her home in south Manchester to her work at the University of Bolton.

But she decided a few weeks ago it was cheaper to travel by car as rail fares were costing her almost £1,000.

The 49-year-old said: “It’s very difficult to expect people to choose between being environmentally friendly and saving money when it’s not only more expensive for people to take the train, but the journey is unpleasant.

“There’s never enough room on the train for everybody, it can be very claustrophobic and I’ve heard of people fainting in the summer because it’s just too hot.

“I’m very lucky that I have a choice between driving and taking the train, but this fare rise is exploiting people that don’t have that choice which is unfair.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said no decision has been taken about fare rises for 2015.

They added the percentage increase was calculated by a formula using the Retail Prices Index, based on inflation figures in July.

Labour has pledged that, if elected in May 2015, it would create a legal right for passengers to be sold the cheapest available ticket for their journey, and Mr Crausby said this would only help frustrated travellers.

He added: “Labour are right to call for a real cap on fares that train operators can’t fiddle, people have had enough.

“We need a better deal for passengers, with reforms that put them first. For many just finding the right ticket is complex, so creating a legal right to the cheapest ticket for your journey would save both time and money.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said the increase, based on a formula tracking inflations, was not yet finalised.

Rail minister Claire Perry added more than £38 billiion will be spent maintaining and improving the rail network across the UK over the next five years, and rail fares pay towards the cost.

She said: “Although a decision on fare rises for 2015 hasn’t yet been taken, we are looking closely at the cost of travel as part of our ongoing commitment to help hard-working people, which has also seen us increase the personal allowance, freeze council tax and fuel duty, and cut energy bills.”

Comments (3)

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7:39am Tue 26 Aug 14

John Edwards says...

The transport system and the utilities should never have bee sold off in the first place. Money for maintenance and improving the network should come from the profits instead of paying executives bonuses. People invest in these services to make money which I agree, but when money is needed for improvement , that's where the money should come from. Not, as usual, "Rip off" the public.

No wonder Scotland wants independence, This island is owned privately and by foreign counties. Go for it Scotland, you will be better off away from this idiotic parliament, who would sell their mother's if they got the chance.
The transport system and the utilities should never have bee sold off in the first place. Money for maintenance and improving the network should come from the profits instead of paying executives bonuses. People invest in these services to make money which I agree, but when money is needed for improvement , that's where the money should come from. Not, as usual, "Rip off" the public. No wonder Scotland wants independence, This island is owned privately and by foreign counties. Go for it Scotland, you will be better off away from this idiotic parliament, who would sell their mother's if they got the chance. John Edwards
  • Score: 6

12:37pm Tue 26 Aug 14

nigella farrage says...

Trains were costing this country billions which it couldn't afford - at the time. - just to keep it going. and it was a mode of transport that was dying and becoming more and more expensive to keep going. Since being privatised number of people using teh trains has increased by almost 300% Lets nor forget that the majority of train companies are actually BRITISH

Buses - should have the same laws as inner-London, instead we have a completely free market and council tax pays for services where bus companies supposedly don't make a profit. Funnily enough the big 2 bus comapnies (Stagecoach and First) ARE British companies!)

As for the power companies - I actually agree with the privatisation BUT we should have put laws in place to safegaurd the customer (like all other Western countries) and safeguard British interst in the comapnies - a failing of Westminster which has created the mess we have today.
Trains were costing this country billions which it couldn't afford - at the time. - just to keep it going. and it was a mode of transport that was dying and becoming more and more expensive to keep going. Since being privatised number of people using teh trains has increased by almost 300% Lets nor forget that the majority of train companies are actually BRITISH Buses - should have the same laws as inner-London, instead we have a completely free market and council tax pays for services where bus companies supposedly don't make a profit. Funnily enough the big 2 bus comapnies (Stagecoach and First) ARE British companies!) As for the power companies - I actually agree with the privatisation BUT we should have put laws in place to safegaurd the customer (like all other Western countries) and safeguard British interst in the comapnies - a failing of Westminster which has created the mess we have today. nigella farrage
  • Score: -2

1:18pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Graham W17 says...

nigella farrage wrote:
Trains were costing this country billions which it couldn't afford - at the time. - just to keep it going. and it was a mode of transport that was dying and becoming more and more expensive to keep going. Since being privatised number of people using teh trains has increased by almost 300% Lets nor forget that the majority of train companies are actually BRITISH

Buses - should have the same laws as inner-London, instead we have a completely free market and council tax pays for services where bus companies supposedly don't make a profit. Funnily enough the big 2 bus comapnies (Stagecoach and First) ARE British companies!)

As for the power companies - I actually agree with the privatisation BUT we should have put laws in place to safegaurd the customer (like all other Western countries) and safeguard British interst in the comapnies - a failing of Westminster which has created the mess we have today.
I had a lot of trouble believing some of the statistics quoted here so I spent an hour checking her numbers using info available on the internet. 3 statements in the first paragraph and each one wrong!

She claims that “Trains were costing this country billions it couldn’t afford.” A mantra often heard at the time and since by the political right. A quick check of the Office of Rail Regulation’s statistics shows that the Total Government support for the railways has almost doubled since privatisation from about £2.9bn in 1995 per year to about £5.2bn in 2013. (source: ORR, adjusted to 2013 prices using RPI figures from Office of National Statistics). Average Gov’t support per year in the 80’s: £1.5bn (data for 1986 to 1989 only available). In the 90’s: £2.5bn. In the 00’s: £5.0bn; and in the 10’s: £5.0bn (only data for 2010 to 2013).

She goes on to claim that “since privatisation the number of people using the trains has increased by almost 300%.” Where does this come from? A better number would be closer to 100%. The Office of Rail Regulation’s statistics shows that Passenger journeys were about 800 per year in the 80’s and early 90’s (pre privatisation) and 1000 per year in the 00’s and almost 1600 last year. A significant and welcome increase but only a third of Ms Farage’s outrageous claim. If this number is broken down by sector (London, Regional and Long-Distance) there is little difference in any of them on the data available, so there is no supporting evidence from those selective statistics.

Finally, she says “the majority of train companies are actually BRITISH.” Not sure why we need the capitals, but, again, this doesn’t stand scrutiny. Almost half are owned by British companies, but more than half of the franchise holders are owned (wholly or in part) by foreign, mainly European, state owned railways. Deutsche Bahn owns Cross Country Trains, Chiltern Railway, Arriva Trains Wales and Grand Central. Nederlandse Spoorwegen owns Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Greater Anglia. Network SouthEast and Regional Railways are owned in part by one or more of SNCF (French), Deutsche Bahn and MTR (Hong Kong).

Gut feeling and political dogma masquerading as facts and statistics.
[quote][p][bold]nigella farrage[/bold] wrote: Trains were costing this country billions which it couldn't afford - at the time. - just to keep it going. and it was a mode of transport that was dying and becoming more and more expensive to keep going. Since being privatised number of people using teh trains has increased by almost 300% Lets nor forget that the majority of train companies are actually BRITISH Buses - should have the same laws as inner-London, instead we have a completely free market and council tax pays for services where bus companies supposedly don't make a profit. Funnily enough the big 2 bus comapnies (Stagecoach and First) ARE British companies!) As for the power companies - I actually agree with the privatisation BUT we should have put laws in place to safegaurd the customer (like all other Western countries) and safeguard British interst in the comapnies - a failing of Westminster which has created the mess we have today.[/p][/quote]I had a lot of trouble believing some of the statistics quoted here so I spent an hour checking her numbers using info available on the internet. 3 statements in the first paragraph and each one wrong! She claims that “Trains were costing this country billions it couldn’t afford.” A mantra often heard at the time and since by the political right. A quick check of the Office of Rail Regulation’s statistics shows that the Total Government support for the railways has almost doubled since privatisation from about £2.9bn in 1995 per year to about £5.2bn in 2013. (source: ORR, adjusted to 2013 prices using RPI figures from Office of National Statistics). Average Gov’t support per year in the 80’s: £1.5bn (data for 1986 to 1989 only available). In the 90’s: £2.5bn. In the 00’s: £5.0bn; and in the 10’s: £5.0bn (only data for 2010 to 2013). She goes on to claim that “since privatisation the number of people using the trains has increased by almost 300%.” Where does this come from? A better number would be closer to 100%. The Office of Rail Regulation’s statistics shows that Passenger journeys were about 800 per year in the 80’s and early 90’s (pre privatisation) and 1000 per year in the 00’s and almost 1600 last year. A significant and welcome increase but only a third of Ms Farage’s outrageous claim. If this number is broken down by sector (London, Regional and Long-Distance) there is little difference in any of them on the data available, so there is no supporting evidence from those selective statistics. Finally, she says “the majority of train companies are actually BRITISH.” Not sure why we need the capitals, but, again, this doesn’t stand scrutiny. Almost half are owned by British companies, but more than half of the franchise holders are owned (wholly or in part) by foreign, mainly European, state owned railways. Deutsche Bahn owns Cross Country Trains, Chiltern Railway, Arriva Trains Wales and Grand Central. Nederlandse Spoorwegen owns Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Greater Anglia. Network SouthEast and Regional Railways are owned in part by one or more of SNCF (French), Deutsche Bahn and MTR (Hong Kong). Gut feeling and political dogma masquerading as facts and statistics. Graham W17
  • Score: 0
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