Heidi Allen, MP set to tackle Rail Minister again after ‘disappointing’ rail fare increase

Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire will meet the new Rail Minister, Andrew Jones on Monday (3rd December) to tackle him about the recent announcement that rail fares are set to increase by 3.1% in January.  Heidi, who had been championing a ‘fare freeze’ on behalf of constituents said she was ‘disappointed and angry’ to hear the rail industry had chosen to implement a fare increase whilst day to day reliability was still recovering from the disastrous summer of delays and cancellations on Great Northern lines.  

 

Heidi repeatedly made requests to Ministers for a fare freeze to demonstrate that passengers and rail user groups were being listened to. This culminated in her co-ordinating a ‘fares freeze’ letter from her and other local MPs to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling at the end of August.  The then Rail Minister, Jo Johnson responded by saying he recognised people’s concerns and was working with the industry and unions to try to move the cost base rate of inflation to the lower Consumer Price Index instead of the higher Retail Price Index.  

 

Rail Minister, Andrew Jones wrote to parliamentary colleagues today confirming that ‘the cost base of the industry is a key driver of fares’ and that ‘unfortunately, Unions had refused to look at reforming the industry inflation index.’  

 

Heidi said – “After one of the worst summers on record for our rail industry, I told the Government we could not ask commuters to pay more for less.  I am disappointed and angry that the industry as a whole has failed to respond to requests to consider a fare freeze or a lower rate of inflation. 

 

I believe it is now incumbent upon the Government to tackle this systemic problem and force the industry to swallow the cost pressures caused by implementing one of these two measures.  We must start listening to passengers who deserve value for money from a reliable, punctual service.  After a summer of dreadful service, this latest news is unacceptable and I shall be telling the Minister as much when I meet him on Monday.”

 

Attachments

Attachment Size
Fares Freeze Letter to Rt Hon Chris Grayling 28 Aug 2018 web version.pdf 305.75 KB
Jo Johnson Response Fare Freeze.pdf 332.65 KB