Labour protest annual rail fare hikes

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 January 2019

Members of the Labour party protest annual fare increases at Weston-super-Mare station  Picture: Gareth Newnham

Members of the Labour party protest annual fare increases at Weston-super-Mare station Picture: Gareth Newnham

Gareth Newnham

Members of Weston’s Labour Party picketed the train station to protest the annual hike in rail fares and spread awareness of its push for re-nationalisation.

Members of the Labour party protest annual fare increases at Weston-super-Mare station  Picture: Gareth NewnhamMembers of the Labour party protest annual fare increases at Weston-super-Mare station Picture: Gareth Newnham

Rail fares increased by 3.2 per cent on Wednesday, with a season pass from Weston to Bristol Temple Meads increasing by £62.

The protest was part of a national campaign by the party to show solidarity with disgruntled commuters, and to raise awareness of re-nationalisation which campaigners say would put ‘people before profits.’

Labour Central ward candidate Holly Law said: ”Train fares have increased by 36 per cent since the Tories came to power. Three times faster than wages.

“A lot of people commute from Weston so it’s like an additional tax on top of a service that is not great.”

Members of the Labour party protest annual fare increases at Weston-super-Mare station  Picture: Gareth NewnhamMembers of the Labour party protest annual fare increases at Weston-super-Mare station Picture: Gareth Newnham

“It’s another example of people being squeezed.”

Fellow Central ward candidate, Rod Taylor said: “It is about ensuring our railway and public transport services are affordable for everyone.

“Due to the ever-increasing fares a lot of people are being locked out of using public transport, and it is affecting people’s quality of life.

“It is an issue that affects everybody whether they commute or not.”

One commuter who did not want to be named said: “We don’t have another choice so we are forced to put up with what we get.

“I do object to the price going up all the time, because my salary does not go up all the time.”

Julie Beynon, a trainer who commutes to Bristol said: “The service isn’t too bad to be honest, but I only go to Temple Meads.

“It’s not too bad going to work, but coming home can be a nightmare due to small carts.

“The price increases really cut into my living expenses, and every year I have to account for it.”

Another commuter described the price increases as ‘a necessary evil’, saying: “It hasn’t really affected me. My fare has only gone up 30p [a day].

“I haven’t really noticed to be fair.”

The increase in rail fares has been described as a ‘disgrace’ by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He said the rail network should work in the interests of everybody, not just for ‘the profits of the few’, and said the Government was to blame for the price hikes.

But Transport Secretary, in a BBC interview, blamed unions’ salary increase demands for the rise in fares.

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