THE CHAIRMAN of Bromsgrove Rail User Group (BRUG) has rubbished this week’s announcement by the Government about the increases on train fares for next year.
The Department of Transport (DfT) claimed on Tuesday (August 18) that ‘there was a better deal for passengers after regulated fares were set at inflation (RPI) of one per cent for 2016’.
It also claimed ‘hardworking families would see an end to inflation busting hikes in regulated rail fares, thanks to a five-year deal offering value for money, adding record amounts were being invested to transform the UK’s rail network’.
But Mike Ponsonby said the claims were not worth the paper they were written on.
He said there were two types of railway tickets – the regulated ones which were bought in advance and the unregulated ones which were purchased on the day of travel.
He added the regulated ones were tightly controlled by the DfT, but the price (and any increases) of the unregulated ones were in the hands of unscrupulous train operators who ‘could fleece rail users whenever they wanted’.
Speaking to The Standard, Mr Ponsonby said unregulated tickets still had the potential to go up and rail passengers were constantly being dealt a ‘double whammy’ with ever increasing overcrowding on trains to go with the ever increasing price rises.
“Users are constantly being asked to pay through the nose while their trains are overcrowded on mornings and evenings.”
He said John Major’s Government fragmented the railways into 134 different companies, ending any possibility of putting the railways back together again.
“What we (BRUG) would like to see is the reunification of Britain’s railways.
“We need regional train operators where, for example, those who run the services in the West Midlands would also be responsible for the track, the signalling and the staff, as well as the trains.
“It would then be the same for all the other regions.”
He added until that happened, there would continue to be a fragmented rail system which was totally dysfunctional and passengers would still be over-paying for overcrowded services.
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