I am contacted regularly by rail users in my constituency who are appalled at the high prices and unsatisfactory services they are currently receiving on our railways –since 2010 rail fares have risen massively in my area.
The highest rise in my area has been on season tickets from Streethouse or Featherstone to Pontefract and from Featherstone to Wakefield which have all risen by a staggering 32%.
This government have created a rip off railway in Britain, prices are rising faster than wages and people are finding it hard to find the cash to pay for their travel. In Britain commuters are paying a larger proportion of their wages on rail travel than anywhere else in Europe.
After years of franchising chaos and rising fares the Tories are now privatising the only publicly owned train line in the country ahead of the General Election – the East Coast Mainline.
East Coast has returned over £800 million to the taxpayer and has established itself as one of the best train operating companies in the country. Rather than trying to sell it off before the election, David Cameron’s Government should have been putting the public interest first and working to get a better deal for passengers.
Labour has pledged bold action. Not only do we have a petition currently running to stop to sell off of the East Coast Mainline but we would reform the railways by putting a cap on annual fare increases on every single route, we would also make it a legal requirement for passengers to be sold the cheapest ticket available.
Labour would also make sure the needs of communities are met by devolving local services so local people have more of a say in how their railways are run.