TSSA says rail fare hike 'lamentable & misguided'

Ticket barriers at rail station

The TSSA General Secretary has described the 2.6 per cent hike in rail fares from 1 March as "lamentable". Manuel Cortes criticised the Government’'s "utterly misguided approach" when it comes to encouraging passengers back onto the railways.

The inflation-busting increase will, for example, see a Brighton-to-London annual season ticket rise by about £129 to £5,109, and a Manchester-to-Glasgow off-peak return go up by £2.30 to £90.60.

Manuel Cortes said: 

"This really is a lamentable step from Conservative Ministers at Westminster and again demonstrates an utterly misguided approach when it comes to our railways.

"Increasing fares at a time when demand for rail travel has plummeted due to the pandemic will do nothing to encourage the much-needed return of passengers. Instead, hiking fares in this way seriously risks increasing congestion on our roads, and the pollution and carbon emissions that goes along with such a spike.

"This was the moment to be bold, but instead we see the Treasury’s grubby fingerprints all over this demand for more cash from the commuter. What should have happened was a strategy focussed on a fair fares regime, with new flexible ticketing arrangements encouraging train travel.

"I say now to Ministers – this is the time to build together towards the goal of a safe, clean and green post pandemic railway that works for people, not profit. The pandemic must be a moment to forever put the failure of privatisation behind us and see our railway network in public hands."

In Scotland, the average rise will be 2.4 per cent. In Wales, the rise is 2.6 per cent.

The government took over rail franchise agreements from train operators in March, following the collapse in demand for travel caused by the virus crisis.