Howarth calls on government to bring down rail fares

February 11, 2010 12:56 PM
Howarth with Campaign for Better Transport mascot

Mr Howarth joins the Campaign for Better Transport mascot to call for a review of train fares.

MP David Howarth has called for a review of the regulation of rail fares in a bid to bring down the cost of train travel.

He claims reducing fares will make it easier for passengers to choose train travel as an alternative to driving and flying.

Mr Howarth joined 58 other MPs from all parties to back the Campaign for Better Transport which recognises high fares as the number one concern for passengers.

"Fares cannot keep rising above inflation," said Mr Howarth. "Commuters in Cambridge have been penalised year after year because they have to travel to work; this cannot be allowed to go on.

"This government must review the regulation of rail fares so that they can be brought down' only then will people be able to see the train as a viable alternative to the car or plane."

During a meeting with representatives from First Capital Connect last year, Mr Howarth was told the company had little choice but to raise prices because of the way in which the government sets the fare increase cap for regulated fares.

The Department of Transport sets the cap at one per cent above the Retail Prices Index and train operators must pay for the franchises which amounted to £85 million last year.

The Campaign for Better Transport maintains fare cuts could be paid for with a fuel tax on domestic flights.

Cat Hobbs, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport said: "More and more MPs are saying that fares cannot keep rising above inflation. Politicians are realising that expensive train tickets make it difficult for people to go green."

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