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MP speaks out against train fare rises

July 11, 2007 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has today voiced his concern at the planned train fare rises which will affect many rail passengers in South Lakeland. The Government announced yesterday that the cross country franchise has been awarded to Arriva Trains who have said they are planning to raise unregulated fares, which account for 60% of total fare revenue, by 3.4% above inflation each year. This would mean that rail fares will increase by 30% above inflation by the end of the eight-year franchise.

It has been reported that the Department for Transport told companies that they could only win the franchise if they agreed to a large cut in Government subsidies and sharp increases in rail fares.

This is the second blow to rail passengers in the North West who were told this year that the new cross country timetable meant that they would no longer be able to travel direct to much of the South of England. Tim had previously pressed the Rail Minister and bidding rail companies to avoid a reduction in the number of through journeys which would cause inconvenience for a huge number of passengers.

Tim Farron said:

"I am very disappointed that it looks like many of my constituents will have to foot the bill for the Government's cut in subsidies. This is a further disincentive for local people to use the train on top of the loss of direct services to the South. Not only will local people have a slower and less convenient rail service, they will be expected to pay more for their journeys.

If people are to be encouraged to use public transport as part of the fight against climate change then fares need to be reduced not increased. This calls into question the Government's commitment to affordable public transport."