‘Disastrous timing’ for fare hikes

23 April 2009

ASLEF leader Keith Norman today slammed plans by franchises to rocket rail fare prices by up to 11% as ‘unjustified by the companies, unacceptable to the customer and anathema to the government’s ‘green’ agenda’.

 

The government is, quite rightly according to the union, resisting being blackmailed by franchises who want more subsidies because of the recession. ‘Franchises make fortunes over the length of their contracts,’ Keith Norman says. ‘If they want to abandon their agreements and return rail to a publicly-owned service, so be it. I don’t think anyone would worry about making rail accountable to the public and passengers rather than to shareholders and speculators.’

 

National Express East Coast (NXEC) is set to increase prices on some advance purchase tickets by 11%, East Midlands is pushing up a range of off-peak fares by 5%, and First Great Western (FGW) is raising some peak-time fares into London by up to 3%. First Capital Connect, National Express East Anglia and Cross Country also intend to increase some prices next month.

 

‘A time of recession and rising unemployment is exactly when fares should be kept down,’ Keith Norman says. ‘A combination of recession and high fares means people will be forced off the trains, throwing the government’s carbon strategy into complete disarray.’

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