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New Year fares hike brings new protests

4 January 2013

This January sees the tenth consecutive year in which rail fares have increased above inflation. Hard-pressed passengers are being robbed blind by the governmentÂ’s fares policy, added to by the TOCÂ’s even bigger rises on unregulated tickets.

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Fares have now risen 26 per cent since the start of the recession whilst wages have stagnated. Many passengers are now paying several months of their salary just to get to work. These facts have been highlighted by TSSA’s Better Rail campaign and Together for Transport who have been contrasting fare increases with the threat of a worse service if station staff are made redundant by the McNulty cuts.

Campaigners have been out across the country campaigning on fares with the support of TSSA’s ‘ghost train’ as part of the ‘Year of Horror’ campaign. This has been visiting stations threatened with ‘ghost’ status by the McNulty report, which recommends removing staff from hundreds of smaller stations.

TSSA members were joined by community campaigners, local councillors, and parliamentary candidates when our vibrant and hard hitting campaign headed along the c2c line in Essex. The travelling protest headed out from London Fenchurch Street to Chafford Hundred, Grays and Thurrock, gaining coverage from BBC Essex, other local radio stations and newspapers (see page 3).


Labour candidate for Thurrock, Polly Billington, came out in support of TSSA's campaign, gaining BBC coverage.

By connecting with passengers over fares, and using those who are most involved to form a local coalitions to support their local stations, we not only begin a conversation about the failings of the current fragmented, for-profit model of railways, but find allies for TSSA members on other issues. Building local coalitions who will want to defend services and oppose staff cuts will demonstrate to TOCs and the government that people are willing to take a stand for fairer fares and properly staffed stations – not endless money being diverted into shareholders’ pockets.

The latest January initiative from TSSA’s community organisers has partnered with environmental campaigners. This is to highlight not only the monetary cost of the increase, but to link that firmly with the carbon cost of the policy, coming from a governments supposedly committed to a low-carbon future. With many leading businesses pushing the government to meet carbon reduction commitments there are many unexpected allies who acknowledge that a shift from plane to train won’t happen unless fares are affordable for both individuals and businesses. Working with the Alliance for Jobs and Climate, Climate Rush, ACT!, Bring Back British Rail and others, we have organised protests at stations across Britain at the start of January, using a postcard (pictured) which can be used for several months more. 2013 will see this coalition, lead by the TSSA and Together for Transport, take our campaign on fares and opposing ghost stations to an ever-growing number of towns and cities.

To find out how to get involved or order postcards, see

Labour candidate for Thurrock Polly Billington came out in support of TSSA’s campaign, gaining BBC coverage.

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