TSSA General Secretary, Maryam Eslamdoust, has described recent days as a “week of shame” for bosses on Britain’s railways in which one company bragged about free money and the issue of fair ticketing again came to the fore.
The transport and travel union leader spoke out after bosses at Avanti West Coast were caught laughing about getting ‘free money’ from taxpayers.
This was followed by news that LNER – which runs East Coast Mainline services – is changing its system for some tickets, a move which was met with criticism in some quarters.
Also, findings from consumer group Which? show railway ticket machines charge passengers more than double what they might pay at a ticket office or even online. Last year TSSA - the union for ticket office staff - fought and won a high-profile national campaign to save rail ticket offices across England, which the government had sought to scrap.
Commenting, Eslamdoust said: “In the case of Avanti and their deplorable ‘free money’ wheeze this can’t be anything other than a week of shame for bosses at that company.
“LNER may well be trying to do the right thing, but that must always be through proper transparency and flexibility on ticketing. We will closely monitor their new plans because it’s vital we have a railway which people feel they can access whenever they need to.
“When it comes to the Which? findings we know more and more people are experiencing severe financial challenges - ticket machines grabbing cash from the most vulnerable passengers is a disgrace.
“All of this tells us that only a nationalised rail network, run in the public interest, will encourage people onto trains at fair prices and in so doing help grow the economy.”