In Parliament today I called on the Government to act to reduce eye-watering rail fares for commuters.
Speaking in Transport Questions, I said “Constituents have contacted me again this week to highlight the eye-watering increase in the cost of commuting by rail to Bristol and how this is forcing them into their cars. After yesterday’s climate emergency debate, isn’t it time for ministers to act on extortionate rail fares?”
The 3.1% rail fare increase in January was a blow for passengers across the country, including for many of my constituents who commute from Newport and Severn Tunnel Junction to Bristol. One constituent told me this week that she feels the costs of a return ticket from Newport to Bristol for work have actively forced her into using her car. Ministers in Whitehall have talked the talk on cutting harmful emissions, but as things stand they are failing to give people an incentive to use public transport.
Our fragmented, privatised railway has driven up costs and left passengers paying more for less. 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. Labour would keep fares down, and bring our railways back into public ownership so they are run in the interests of passengers, not private profit. Pricing out passengers from the railways could threaten the future sustainability of the service. We cannot allow this to happen.