The Government’s long anticipated rail fare increases have finally been announced. This is the tenth consecutive year of inflation-busting fare increases. At a time when people are being hurt by economic mismanagement, public sector cuts and rising bills, I find it exceptionally unfair that hard-pressed commuters are now expected to take yet another financial hit.
The Government seems happy to allow rail companies to make large profits while doing little to reduce overcrowding, improve the South East’s rail network and invest in a public transport system that could be an affordable and greener option for ordinary people. A quick comparison with other European countries only further highlights how poor our public transport system is. The price of UK rail tickets is extortionate and set to increase by 24% between 2011 and 2015, making them the most expensive in Europe.
As a Green MEP and member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, and with a constituency covering the busy South East region, I’m calling for an end to the failed experiment in privatised rail. This latest round of price rises will only strengthen the growing public support to renationalise the railways. Surveys show that three quarters of British voters want more control over our railways and this is something that I will continue to push for.
Green MEP for South East England