Bedford and Kempston MP joins campaign against “insulting” rail fares

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Mohammad Yasin Rail Fare
(l-r): Cllr Luigi Reale, Cllr Sue Oliver, Mohammad Yasin MP, Rob Walker, and Nesreen Akhtar.

Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin, has joined campaigners at Bedford train station this morning to highlight what he says are “insulting” rail fare increases.

Just yesterday, the Bedford Independent, revealed how Bedford rail users face the most expensive annual season tickets ahead of a 3.1% increase in fare prices on 2 January.

Read: Bedford commuters pay highest train fares in Europe

Now, Mohammad Yasin MP (lab) has added weight to the campaign to lower rail fares: “Bedford rail users are returning to work facing another inflation busting fare increase which is an insult after the year they have had with the hundreds of train delays and cancellations following the timetable change debacle.

“Under the Tories, regulated fares, including peak fares and season tickets have risen by 36% since 2010, nearly 3 times higher than earnings for a poorer service which is unjustifiable.

“A season ticket holder in Bedford now has to find an extra £148 a year to get to work but they’ve lost their fast-intercity peak time services and now have to endure frequent delays and over-crowded trains. No other industry could get away with treating their customers with such distain.

“The franchising system is broken, and the Government’s shambolic mismanagement of our railways has been a national embarrassment. The entire network should be brought back into public ownership, so that the railways are run in the interests of passengers and taxpayers not private profit.”

In a statement (GTR) said: “We understand that many of our passengers have had a difficult year. Thameslink services are back on track and on 10 December we introduced 200 extra services [across our network] to complete the rollout of the May timetable. We thank passengers for their patience.

“The Department for Transport approves all fares and receives all ticket sales money for GTR services. We, unlike other rail companies, collect a management fee but do not take a share of ticket revenue.

“Successive governments have decided that passengers paying fares should cover a greater proportion of the cost of running the railway, freeing up taxpayer funding for record levels of investment in infrastructure to improve journeys and support economic growth.”

They also added: “We understand that many of our passengers have had a difficult year and an additional compensation scheme has refunded those worse affected by last May’s timetable disruption up to four weeks’ worth of fares, which is the equivalent to 8% off their fare this year.”

Speaking to The Guardian in November 2018, Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Nobody wants to pay more to travel, especially those who experienced significant disruption earlier this year. Money from fares is underpinning the improvements to the railway that passengers want and which ultimately help boost the wider economy.”

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