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Fares rocket by 210% since Tory sell-off

1 October 2013

Branson and O'Toole Top Great Train Robbers League

Rail fares have soared by 210% since rail privatisation - three times more than inflation, the TSSA revealed today.

The greediest rail firms have been Sir Richard Branson's Virgin and Tim O Toole's First group which come joint top of a "Great Train Robbers" league published by the union.

The list was issued as the union staged a protest march outside the Tory conference in Manchester accusing the party of giving the rail firms a licence to print money at the expense of passengers.

Joint top were Virgin Trains and First Group's Great Western franchises which have increased the cost of walk on single fares by 210% since 1995. Third was East Coast, 200%; fourth, East Midlands Trains, 155%; and fifth, Greater Anglia, 150%.*

The rate of inflation over the same period was 66%.

"The Tories gave these firms a licence to print money at the expense of passengers," said union general secretary Manuel Cortes.

"This is little more than legalised daylight robbery.

"The irony in all of this is that the Great Train Robbers who stole £3 million went to jail for 30 years. These people have ripped off passengers for billions and they have been rewarded with knighthoods."

Last week the union won a vote at the Labour Conference calling on the next Labour government to take private rail franchises back into public hands as they expire.

Today it was calling on the Coalition to end annual fare rises of inflation plus 1% which has already seen increases of 20% since the election in May 2010.

"A standard single fare from Manchester to London has jumped 240% since 1993, up from £45 to £154," he added. "That is just blatant profiteering by Sir Richard Branson.

"It is cheaper to fly to Paris from Manchester than get a train to London. That is the economics of the madhouse."

ends

* Numbers 5 to 10 in the Great Train Robbers League:
6, Gatwick Express, 125%;
7, Southeastern, 100%;
8, South West Trains, 90%;
9, Southern, 85%;
10, Thameslink, 75%.

** TSSA figures compiled by independent rail fares expert Barry Doe.

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