Mick slams rail fare rise

07 August 2019

ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has slammed proposed above-inflation rail fare rises for hard-pressed passengers of 2.7%.


‘The Tories want people to pay more for a poorer service,’ said ASLEF’s general secretary, Mick Whelan. ‘That’s not a great offer, is it? For passengers – or for voters at the next election.


‘But it’s been a strange few days. The Evening Standard, edited by George Osborne, criticises in a front page splash, “inflation-busting rail fare rises on services blighted by delays, cancellations and overcrowding” adding, in its leader column, that “the prospect of paying more for what is effectively an essential public service is unappealing”.


‘Now, while we agree with every word, it is galling to hear it from the mouth of a man responsible, as Chancellor of the Exchequer for six years, and David Cameron’s right-hand man, for maintaining the system of rail fare rises!


‘On top of that, George Freeman, a Tory transport minister in Boris Johnson’s government, launches a furious rant after staff refused to hold a Greater Anglia train for him.


‘And Chris Grayling is the gift that keeps on giving as the High Court gives Virgin, Stagecoach and Arriva Trains the green light to challenge Chris Grayling’s decision to ban them from bidding for the East Midlands, West Coast and South Eastern franchises.


‘The truth is that the Tories don’t know how to run a railway but everyone in the industry knows that the franchise model is broken, beyond repair, and that privatisation hasn’t worked. And all the Williams review has to offer is the prospect of a new version of the Strategic Rail Authority which didn’t work last time! We need to put the wheels and the steel back together in a vertically-integrated publicly-owned railway fit for the 21st century.’



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