Rail fare rises: Will they lead to more broken promises?

UKIP’s transport spokesman Jill Seymour has condemned the latest inflation-busting rise in rail fares, describing them as the fore-runner for another year of broken promises.

The price of a train ticket in Britain will go up by an average of 3.1% from the start of January – just weeks after it emerged that UK train punctuality is at its lowest level in more than a decade.

Mrs Seymour said: “Every year the rail companies say the price rises are vital to allow them to improve service, yet every year they fail all customer service metrics. It’s all talk, and broken promises.

“It begs the question – exactly where is this money being spent? The stories we hear from commuters about tatty, overcrowded rolling stock suggest it’s certainly not improving the lives of paying customers.”

She added: “The Government is constantly talking about encouraging people to ditch their cars and switch to public transport, yet the price of a rail ticket is already prohibitive for many.

“With these latest rises, many long-distance commuters will see the annual cost of getting to work rise by hundreds of pounds.

“And particularly for those working in London, who can’t afford to buy a house in the city because of crazy property prices, they have no choice but to pay. Someone, somewhere, is laughing all the way to the bank. It’s disgusting.

Mrs Seymour added: “The very least we expect to see is a similarly significant increase in the quality of our railway network.

“Yet just look at the outpouring of anger on social media from customers, who talk about having to pay more to be late for work, and crammed into carriages like sardines.

“You cannot continue to hike prices, without addressing shoddy customer service and providing value for money. Rail companies could start by simplifying the ticketing system, to ensure passengers can find the cheapest deals.

“Britain already has the highest rail fares in Europe. Why not scrap the tens of billions being wasted on HS2, and focus instead on supporting the existing railway infrastructure where prices are going sky-high at a time when customer satisfaction is falling through the floor?”