MP slams rail fares rise as an ‘insult to long suffering passengers’

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

The news this week of train fare increases is an insult to everyone who has suffered from the chaos on Britain’s railways, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.

The Government’s shambolic mismanagement of the railways has been a national embarrassment and it must now step in to freeze fares charged on the worst performing routes.

The amount by which train companies can raise regulated fares is the responsibility of the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling.

He has the power to enforce this, but he’s choosing not to, instead only writing a ‘pathetic’ letter to the trade unions unfairly asking rail staff to accept a pay cap.

This is a pathetic attempt by Chris Grayling to shift the blame for Tory fares policy.

The Secretary of State has washed his hands of years of industrial action on the railway, saying it was the responsibility of train companies, but is now intervening over staff pay.

At best this is a distraction technique and, at worse, a recipe for years of industrial action.

Chris Grayling made no similar request for the bosses of train companies to take a pay cut or for shareholders to refuse dividends.

The men and women who run the railway are being singled out while greedy train companies are let off the hook yet again.

The truth is that Britain’s fragmented, privatised railway drives up costs and leaves passengers paying more for less, not staff.

The railways

need serious reform, not a plea to train companies.

But Ministers are persisting with a failed model of privatisation that is punishing passengers and taxpayers.