Rail Fare Rise Due
After Prices Soar At Twice The Rate Of Wages
Sky News – 11 hours ago
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for the renationalisation of the railways after it was confirmed prices will go up by 1.9% from January.
Passengers have already seen fares increase at twice the rate of average earnings, while rail firm shareholders have enjoyed a 21% increase in their dividends.
The new year regulated rail fare increase is set according to the level of inflation in July, which was confirmed by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday as 1.9%. Last year it was 1%.
Around half of rail fares, including season tickets on most commuter routes, are regulated.
Mr Corbyn, who joined a union-organised rail fare protest outside London Bridge station, said that passengers could see 10% shaved off their fares if the Government renationalised the railways.
Unveiling his plans to take the transport system back into public ownership, Mr Corbyn said it would not cost anything because the Government would simply take control of the rail firms when their franchises ran out.
He denied it would be a return to the poor service days of British Rail and said that it was wrong private firms were posting huge profits and not improving services.
His comments follow passenger protests over the poor performance of Southern Rail, with unprecedented levels of service dissatisfaction and strikes by staff.
Some commuters have spoken of being forced to give up jobs because of the unreliability of the service.
Mr Corbyn said: “The Southern Rail debacle just goes to show how private transport operators cannot be trusted with having passengers’ best interests at heart.
“Public ownership of our railways is needed now to fix the transport nightmare we are currently faced with, and we know there is overwhelming support among the British public for a people’s railway.”
It is only by bringing the railways back under public ownership as the contracts expire, that will fix the rail crisis – and I’m pleased that even some Tory politicians are now joining us in calling for Southern rail to immediately be brought under public ownership.”
Under his proposals, bus companies would also be brought back under the control of local councils.
Figures from the TUC and the Action For Rail union campaign showed that fares have increased by 25% since 2010 while average weekly earnings have risen by just 12%.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Rail passengers are paying more and getting even less.”
And added: “It’s time for rail services to be publicly owned, saving money for passengers and taxpayers alike.”
But Rail Minister Paul Maynard claimed wages were growing faster than ticket prices because of the cap on regulated rail fares.
He said: “Passengers want more reliable journeys in comfort and with better facilities.”
That is why we are investing record amounts in our railways delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century, providing more seats, more services, Wi-Fi and air conditioning.”