Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ticket price rise misery for millions of British rail users

The Daily Mail reports:

Millions of rail passengers face higher than expected annual fare rises of up to 10 per cent as the Government considers scrapping the formula for raising ticket prices.

Commuters and families will feel betrayed by rises which have put ministers on a collision course with rail unions, who vowed yesterday to 'stop the Government in their tracks' if train fares increase and investment is cut.

Passenger groups say UK train fares are already the highest in Europe.

The fares system, imposed by Labour, already guarantees inflation-busting rises by allowing train companies to put up prices each New Year by 1 per cent above the level of the retail price index from the previous July.

However, Conservative Transport Secretary Philip Hammond signalled yesterday this formula may have to be broken - allowing fares to rise even further if, as expected, his department is forced to bear the brunt of budget cuts in the Government's October review of finances.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, said his union's annual meeting in Aberdeen this week will 'be planning the fightback and a mobilisation of rail workers and rail users that will stop the Government in their tracks'.

He added: 'We could see fares jacked up by as much as 10 per cent while passengers are crammed into ancient carriages running on creaking track.'

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