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Public anger over performance

Rail spending pledged amid fares rises and overcrowding

FirstGroup train, First Group rail services,

Rail investment will hit record levels say industry chiefs


Rail chiefs have pledged to tackle overcrowding and delays with record investment as the latest rise in fares comes into effect.

Fares rise by about 3% across Britain with season tickets on some Scottish routes now costing well in excess of £4,000 and the Kids Go Free scheme scrapped.

Fares in London will stay the same after a decision by Mayor Sadiq Khan to freeze Transport for London prices.

One in seven trains were delayed by at least five minutes in the past 12 months – the network’s worst performance since September 2005, according to the Press Association

The rail industry says 98p of every pound spent on a ticket is invested back into the network.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the government’s investment into the network will help passengers get the “frequent, affordable and reliable journeys they deserve”.

The Department for Transport has commissioned former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams to carry out a review of Britain’s railway network – including fares.

Transport Scotland said the fare rises were needed for continued investment in the network

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash said fare payers are being “battered by the toxic combination of gross mismanagement and profiteering”.

Labour says overcrowding on train services is now at its worst ever levels and is set to get even worse. It has highlighted the 4.22 service between Glasgow Central and Manchester Airport as the most overcrowded in the UK last year, operating at 211% of capacity.

The top 10 most overcrowded peak train routes will be an average 187% in excess of capacity and more than 207% in excess of capacity by the end of the parliament.

At the same time, cancelled or significantly late services are at their highest level in 17 years.


Comment: why the rail network will always be a problem whoever is running it


Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said: “Under the Tories fares have risen three times faster than average wages and severe disruption has blighted the network meaning services are often delayed or cancelled.

“It’s outrageous that passengers will be hit with yet another above inflation fares rise following such a miserable year on the railway. Making passengers pay more to travel on increasingly overcrowded trains is simply not sustainable.

“The Government’s blind obsession with privatisation is putting the future of the railway at risk. Labour will do what’s best for passengers and taxpayers by taking the railway back into public ownership in order to improve services and cap fares.”

Rail fares across Scotland have increased by 3%. Season tickets on some routes will now cost well in excess of £4,000 and the popular Kids Go Free scheme has been scrapped as part of the rip-off fare rise.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson, Colin Smyth MSP, said: “This rail fare rise is a rip-off. Commuters are now being forced to pay more for train services which are plagued by delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

“Thousands of working people may now be priced out from travelling on Scotland’s railways alongside their children with the Kids Go Free also now scrapped.

“Across the country this fare rise will cripple commuters, with annual season tickets on some routes now costing well in excess of £4,000.

“It’s high time working people stopped having to pay such excessive fares to simply line the pockets of private companies.”

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