Seymour: Rail Operators Laughing All The Way To The Bank
Jill Seymour MEP, UKIP’s Transport Spokesperson, has said that the average 3.4% fare hike which was effective as of the beginning of January will see rail operators “laughing all the way to the bank”. She went on to question the claim made that the increase is offset by increased investment in the rail network:
We are told that 97% of the money is reinvested in the railways, yet the stories we hear from commuters about tatty, overcrowded rolling stock suggest otherwise.
It is now significantly cheaper to fly to European cities than to travel between major British cities by rail. Commuter routes that are now more expensive include Liverpool to Manchester (up £108 to £3,152), Maidenhead to London (up £104 to £3,092) and Elgin to Inverness (up £100 to £2,904). Meanwhile, rail bosses are in line to receive multimillion-pound pay packages this year and some executives could earn as much as £5.4million.
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary was conveniently unavailable for comment as he was in Qatar. Mr Grayling’s trip to Qatar was apparently “pre-planned” much like the fare increases were, making this particular excuse issued by the Department of Transport on Mr Grayling’s behalf particularly nonsensical. I suspect his Diary Secretary will be in-line for a pat on the back. However, Mr Grayling will face significant political pressure when he does eventually return home with Conservative MPs calling for action.
Tim Loughton, a former Minister, told the Daily Telegraph:
“At a time when wages are still being squeezed and train fares – which are essential for many workers – are going up at a record rate, simply saying that the railways since privatisations have been a huge success story doesn’t cut the mustard.
Indeed it does not. In the short term at least there seems to be no end to commuters misery.