Protests Over Train Fare Hikes
14 August 2012, 05:46
Unions, transport campaigners and rail passenger groups are protesting at Newcastle train station over "massive" fare increases.
A series of demonstrations are being held at more than 40 railway stations including Waterloo, Euston and Kings Cross in London, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street, Crewe, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.
The Government is allowing train firms to raise fares by 3% more than RPI inflation from January, based on July's inflation figure, which is published on Tuesday.
Bob Crow, leader of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said passengers will be "rightly angry" when they find out the full extent of inflation-busting fare increases imposed on them by government "diktat".
Rail unions have warned that some fares could jump by 11% from the New Year, while most rush-hour travel, season tickets and off-peak fares will rise by well above the rate of inflation.
They said up to 20,000 jobs are at risk under cost-cutting proposals, which will hit station staff, guards, catering and ticket offices.
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said:
"The Government knows they can't continue to hit commuters - that's why they've postponed the fuel duty increase.
Now they need to give the same help to rail users."
TUC deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady said:
"The Government is asking train operators to make cuts to staff on trains, stations and in ticket offices while continuing to receive public subsidy and give millions in dividends to shareholders."
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said:
"I am keen to see what we can do to keep rail fares down to something affordable. I shall be looking at whether there is a way of doing that in the autumn but we have to stick with our deficit-reduction policy."