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The great train fares robbery

12 December 2011

Together for Transport community organiser Sam Tarry reports on the big new campaign uniting rail workers and passengers against the rise in rail fares.

Fare Robbery Postcard

The Together for Transport community organising team has kicked off a major campaign to highlight the daylight robbery that is taking place on fare increases. The government had planned for massive fare rises of RPI plus 3 per cent, meaning fares up by an average 8 per cent, but have since been pushed back to increases of 'only' 6 per cent. These increases come at a time of great hardship for many passengers, effectively imposing a pay cut on them before they even get to work. But the decision also gives a massive opportunity to unite railway staff with the passengers they serve, plus environmental and passenger groups in a coalition that can mount effective pressure on the Government; to reverse these increases and make affordable fares a priority in helping boost the struggling economy.

The task of community-facing campaigning is to build coalitions of interest –and angry commuter-belt passengers could prove a key ally in the battle against the Government's drive to force all workers to pay above inflation costs just to get to work. These same passengers can also be targeted to support our campaigns to save staff posts at stations up and down the country as well as any number of issues where TSSA members, and the public they serve, have more to gain by working together.

Working closely with the TSSA Organising Team the campaign kicked off on 22 November with reps and community activists across the country delivering a hard hitting 'Wanted poster' style postcard at key stations across the country. Aiming to tap into target audiences who were already motivated and angry, we especially targeted TOCs where a high degree of passenger concern over costs already exists, including South Eastern, Southern and First Capital Connect.

The powerful 'Wanted' image highlighted the idea of a Government backed robbery – and was picked up by local and national media across the country, generating positive and hard hitting local and regional press stories, from the Evening Standard to the Daily Express. The postcard has information for passengers highlighting some of the more outrageous fares increases on annual season tickets, with estimates for the 2015 sums to increase the shock factor as passengers realise just how much of their salary they pay just to get to work.

'Paying for through the nose'

Over 20,000 postcards were distributed on the 22 November by TSSA members, reps, community activists, and Climate Rush – one of the campaign partners we are working with on a number of activities. The response was highly positive from passengers, with many asking for more postcards to take into their workplaces.

In the first 48 hours following the campaign action over 200 campaign postcards were sent back via the freepost return address. As many supporters across the country also got in touch to order batches of the campaign cards to distribute in their own time, with more likely to keep flowing in over the next few weeks.

A number of localised campaign actions will be taking place over the next few weeks in key target areas up and down target TOCs. Expect a flurry of activity as campaigns materials highlighting the 'Unfair–Fares' are handed out in the first week of January as passengers go back to work – culminating in a campaign day on Thursday 5 January.

Get involved: take action Any member wishing to get involved in any of the upcoming activities across the country, or wanting some campaign postcards to be sent out to deliver yourself, please contact Sam at or call 07850793971. For those members on Twitter, report and follow the actions in January via the hash-tag #FareFail.

Stopping Boris and his Great Fares Robbery

THE FARES RISES being implemented by Train Operating Companies at the behest of the Government becomes a double whammy rise for Londoners and those who travel into the capital to work. So a separate prong of the campaign will be launched in the Transport for London area where Tory Mayor Boris Johnson is hiking fares by 6 per cent. For commuters coming into London on National Rail this means they will be hit with a double whammy fares rise if they also have to travel on the TfL system.

Under the Tory Mayor's tenure bus fares have now risen 56% since 2008, and in January the annual cost of a Zones 1-4 travel-card will have increased by £400! The average fare rises of RPI plus 2 per cent have themselves been dwarfed by the scale of increase to some specific products, with the cost of a weekly bus and tram pass up a whopping 47 per cent since 2008. The Together for Transport campaign in London will seek to exploit the anger over these rises to build a coalition of activists across the capital to mount maximum pressure on the Mayor to reverse this decision and make life easier for ordinary hard pressed Londoners.

Together for Transport Campaign activities are planned at over 100 tube and train stations across the capital as part of our campaign activities. The TSSA will be mobilising its members alongside the public to highlight the injustice of the fares increases, and indeed the disproportionate impact the increases have on low paid workers who rely on buses more than tubes and trains. Thursday 5 January.




Ken's Fare Deal

Ken Livingstone, The TSSA-backed Labour Mayoral hopeful in London, is making his opposition to the massive fares increases a core issue in next year's Mayoral elections. TSSA activists have been out campaigning with Ken on his 'Fare Deal' campaign. Demonstrating he is more in touch with the electorate than Boris Johnson (who referred to his £250,000 salary for his 'second job' with the Daily Telegraph as 'chicken feed'), Ken has made some radical promises on London fares:


  • An overall cut in fares for Londoners of 5 per cent in the autumn of 2012 No further fare rises at all in 2013.
  • From January 2014 and in subsequent years no fare rises above RPI inflation.
  • Bring back the Zones 2-6 Travelcard.

Boris Johnson has raised fares by 21.1 per cent between 2009 and 2011, yet RPI inflation was just 8 per cent over that period. Boris Johnson's fare increases have meant the cost of a single bus fare using Oyster has risen by a staggering 56 per cent since 2008, costing Londoners £260 a year more. A zones 1-6 Travelcard is up 22 per cent costing £509 a year more than when he came to power.

The zone 2-6 Travelcard had cost £8.60 a day, but following its abolition in January 2011, passengers in outer London who wanted to use a Travelcard were forced to buy a Zone 1-6 card instead costing £15. The difference between these being £6.40 a day, £32 a week, £128 a month giving a shocking £1408 a year.

The TSSA will be campaigning hard for Ken – not only is having him elected Mayor a 'Fare Deal' for Londoners but will also ensure a fairer deal for our members across TfL.

Get involved in Ken's campaign

Ken's campaign are already running campaigning events several times a week. To find out how you can get involved call 020 7783 1054, visit or email

Kens Fare Deal

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