‘AN INSULT TO PASSENGERS...’
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.”