Green MEP Tells Government: Medway Train Fare Hikes Are “Beyond a joke”

12 April 2011

1 April 2011 – On Friday morning Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Sussex and the South East, will join fed-up commuters and train travellers to stage an April Fool’s day stunt to protest against rail fare increases. The group will be calling on the government to keep their promise to make rail fares fair.

Keith Taylor sits on the transport committee in the European parliament. Keith said: “I’m in Chatham on April Fool’s Day supporting local campaigners who say the government’s rail fare policy is beyond a joke. It’s ludicrous that an annual season ticket to travel the 28 miles from Chatham to London costs the same as an annual season ticket to travel anywhere on over 21,000 miles of Germany’s train network (1). Why are commuters in Medway being forced to pay such high fares to travel such a short distance?”

Keith continued: “The government seems happy to allow rail companies to charge exorbitant fares while doing little to reduce over-crowding or improve the South East’s trains or rail network. If the government is willing to subsidise car travel by reducing fuel duty they should also be investing in public transport to ensure that greener alternatives to the car become an affordable option for ordinary people.”

The protest is part of Fair Fares Now, a new national campaign which is gaining momentum across the South East. Keith has recently joined campaigners outside Preston Park station in Brighton and Lewes station in Sussex to highlight their concerns about large fare increases.

Alexandra Woodsworth, public transport campaigner at the Campaign for Better Transport said: “Kent commuters face the steepest fare increases in the country, with some season tickets now costing up to a quarter of the average UK salary. Such high prices are in no way the ‘fair fares’ that were promised to us. Instead of introducing further massive fare hikes next year, the government should provide help for rail passengers in these difficult times, in the same way they have for drivers.”

The ‘Fair Fares Now’ campaign aims to harness the widespread anger felt by passengers to demand more affordable, straightforward train tickets that provide good value for money and encourage people to choose the train. It was launched at the beginning of the year by sustainable transport charity Campaign for Better Transport and is backed by actor and comedian Michael Palin CBE.

To join the ‘Fair Fares Now’ campaign visit www.fairfaresnow.org.uk


ENDS


Notes to Editors

1. An annual season ticket from Chatham to London costs £3,324.00. A German Bahncard 100 (annual season ticket) which gives passengers unlimited travel on over 21,000 miles of the Deutsche Bahn train network costs 3,800 EUR (around £3339)

The Fair Fares Now campaign is calling for affordable prices, even for peak times and turn-up-and-go tickets; reliable services that aren’t overcrowded; and straightforward tickets that make train travel simple.

Campaign for Better Transport is the UK’s leading authority on sustainable transport. They champion transport solutions that improve people’s lives and reduce environmental damage. Their campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).


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