Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

Unions and politi­cians have at­tacked news of an­other rail fare rise as a tax on com­muters and an “in­sult” to pas­sen­gers.

Shadow trans­port sec­re­tary Andy McDon­ald said: “This is a pa­thetic at­tempt by Chris Grayling to shift the blame for Tory fares pol­icy. The amount by which train com­pa­nies can raise reg­u­lated fares is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Trans­port Sec­re­tary. He has the power to en­force this, he’s just choos­ing not to.

“The Sec­re­tary of State has washed his hands of years of in­dus­trial ac­tion on the rail­way, say­ing it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of train com­pa­nies, but is now in­ter­ven­ing over staff pay. At best this is a dis­trac­tion tech­nique and at worst a recipe for years of in­dus­trial ac­tion.

TUC gen­eral sec­re­tary Frances O’Grady said: “This is an in­sult to hard-pressed com­muters. After a year of de­lays, can­cel­la­tions and over­crowded trains, the last thing they de­serve is an­other wage-bust­ing fare hike...

“Pri­vate train com­pa­nies are squan­der­ing mil­lions ev­ery year on share­holder div­i­dends. Chris Grayling should be get­ting tough on them, not threat­en­ing to cut rail work­ers’ pay.”

Mike Cherry, chair­man of the Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses, said: “Like all com­muters, those run­ning small busi­nesses, their cus­tomers and staff are hugely im­pacted by the chaos of de­lays, over­crowd­ing and can­celled trains.

“As fares in­crease once again, those us­ing train services will be look­ing to rail com­pa­nies to show that the money raised from the price hikes is be­ing used to im­prove their jour­neys.”

GMB gen­eral sec­re­tary Tim Roache said: “Mil­lions of pas­sen­gers face a grim start to the new year when they are forced to pay even more ex­tor­tion­ate prices for a frankly shock­ing ser­vice from the pri­va­tised rail com­pa­nies.

“Ris­ing travel costs, ef­fec­tively a com­muter tax, place an in­tol­er­a­ble bur­den on work­ing peo­ple, es­pe­cially when wage rates don’t keep pace.”

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