Steve Brine has slammed planned 3.1% rail fares increases on SWR trains in the New Year, which were announced by the Rail Delivery Group at the end of November, and has called for SWR to halt the increases.
The Winchester & Chandler’s Ford MP, who is a regular commuter himself, said; “The Government caps fare rises at no more than inflation but, even at this level, there is no question in my mind these increases should not go ahead this year.
“My commuting constituents, of which I am one of course, are at the end of our tether with a worsening service, a failing refund system and patchy customer service when things do go wrong.
“We are told year after year we need these rises to improve the service but the exact same opposite seems to be happening. Rising costs and union demands for big pay rises are swallowing up fare rises and it’s time we stood up and said enough is enough.
“I am not saying a permanent fare freeze is the answer, that is what’s happened in London where TfL is in deep trouble and making big cuts, but SWR should halt this year’s rise as an acknowledgement of their poor start to the franchise and focus alongside Network Rail on implementing the actions outlined in the recent Holden Review industry report.
“That gives them every incentive to get improvements and then we can talk again about fares.”
You can see more from Steve Brine on his work on our local railway at www.stevebrine.com/trains.