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Cameron misled commuters with conference pledge to cap New Year fare rises at one per cent above inflation
Labour today (Wednesday) pledged to force train companies to limit future New Year fare rises to a strict cap set by Ministers and oppose Government plans to close ticket offices and introduce a new ‘super peak’ season ticket.
David Cameron has failed to honour his eve of Conservative Party conference promise to limit New Year fare rises to one per cent above inflation, which should have seen fare rises capped at 4.2 per cent. Yet many commuters returning to work will find that their tickets have gone up by as much as 9.2 per cent as a result of the Government’s decision to reverse Labour’s ban on train companies having the ‘flexibility’ to add up to another 5 per cent to some fares. The National Audit Office has previously warned the Department for Transport that it has failed to demonstrate t hat higher fare rises do not lead to higher profits for private train companies.
Labour is also warning of additional misery facing rail passengers in 2013 as a result of the Government’s ‘Rail Fares and Ticketing Review’. Labour will oppose any move to make it easier for train companies to close ticket offices and reduce their opening hours, which would making it harder for passengers to get the best deals. Labour will also campaign to prevent the introduction of a new super-peak ticket, which would see some commuters facing even higher annual fare rises to ensure their season ticket remained valid on every train.
Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, in advance of joining rail campaigners at London St Pancras station on Wednesday morning (2nd January), said:
“David Cameron misled commuters when he promised to cap fare rises at one per cent above inflation. Many commuters have faced a nasty New Year shock as they discover fares have gone up by as much as 9.2 per cent. The Government should come clean with commuters that this is a direct result of their decision to cave in to pressure from the private train companies to let them hike ticket prices beyond the so called cap. The misery for passengers is set to continue in 2013 as the Government’s plans to let train companies close ticket offices and introduce a new super peak ticket become a reality.
"A one-nation economy requires the spiralling cost of getting to work to be brought under control. Labour would strictly enforce the fare cap on every route and restore the ban on train companies imposing higher increases. Labour will oppose any measure that makes it harder for passengers to secure the cheapest ticket deal or forces hard pressed commuters to pay even more just to ensure their season ticket remains valid on every train.”