TSSA calls for rail fares freeze after RPI figures published

Train in a station ©G.Theobald

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has called on the Government to ensure there's no rise in rail fares after publication today of July's Retail Price Index (RPI) figure showing inflation at 1.6 per cent. 

The July figure – from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - is normally used to determine regulated rail fare increases from next January. 

However, Cortes, has made it clear the impact of the Covid crisis should rule out increases, and called for Ministers to signal their commitment to nationalising our railways. 

Commenting, Cortes said: “There should be no planned increase in rail fares, doing so in the middle of a health emergency and emerging economic crisis will help no one. 

“Since the pandemic hit our shores, our railways have kept key workers and vital supplies moving. There can be no doubt how vital our rail infrastructure is for the wellbeing of our nation and for our efforts to decarbonise our economy. 

“With that in mind our industry needs a new start which puts passengers not profits first. Let’s not forget that last month the ONS also reclassified train companies in England, Wales and Scotland as public bodies. 

“This is the moment for Government to come clean and tell us that not only will there be no increase in fares but that they are taking our railways back into public ownership. 

“We simply must get more people to use our railways for leisure travel as there is very likely to be a drop in commuter numbers as we feel the bite of what is expected to be a very deep recession and also increased homeworking taking hold.  

“This means putting in place a new affordable and more flexible fare structure which serves the needs of changing working patterns and which strongly promotes people using our railways for leisure purposes.”