I have been campaigning at Greenfield Station today, against a 32% rise in rail fares since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. This morning commuters faced the steepest hike in 5 yrs – up to 3.6%.
Lobbying for fairer trans-Pennine train fares is one of my top ten constituency priorities. Passengers using Greenfield Station, and across the country, have faced unacceptably high fare rises since 2010 under this Tory government.
Fares are up by 32% over this period and that is two times faster than wages have risen. On top of this, in the last couple of years, passenger numbers at Greenfield have increased by nearly 8%.
I have regular contact from constituents with their concerns about the low number of trains running each hour, the frequent overcrowding, the quality of the rolling stock and the ever increasing cost of tickets. In addition, commuters will also see a 44 minute wait between peak services to and from Greenfield Station due to revised timetables and a re-routing to Manchester Piccadilly (instead of Manchester Victoria and Salford) impacting many work journeys.
There are also the ongoing issues about the station’s lack of accessibility to people with mobility issues, such as wheelchair users and parents with small children. It is unacceptable given that Greenfield has seen the largest percentage increase in usage of any station between Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds that the Government continues to drag its feet on improving access.
Rail passengers were always told that higher fares were necessary to fund investment, but vital projects have been delayed by years and essential maintenance works have been put on hold.
The truth is that our heavily fragmented railways mean that it takes years longer and costs much than it should to deliver basic improvements. The railways need reforms that could be implemented if public ownership was extended to passenger services, but the Tories are persisting with a failed model for purely ideological reasons.
Labour would bring our railways into public ownership meaning fares would be capped; better and more reliable services; and investment in our railways.