A PROTEST has been held outside Cam and Dursley’s railway station as it is announced train fares will again rise above inflation.
Stroud Labour Party activists joined a national campaign by protesting and leafleting outside the station early Tuesday morning (August 19) calling for a restraint on rising fares and the nationalisation of the industry.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the Stroud district and former MP David Drew said a publicly-owned railway system would provide a better deal for passengers and taxpayers.
“You only have to look at the success of the publicly-owned East Coast Main Line which put £16 million back into the Treasury in just one year (2012-13) after private owners backed out of running it and the government took it back into public ownership,” he said.
“For the Coalition Government to re-privatise this service is complete madness - a triumph of ideology over common sense.”
It was reported on Tuesday that the price of travelling by train will go up by 3.5 per cent, 1 per cent more than inflation, in 2015.
The increase will affect regulated fares, including season tickets, anytime single tickets, tickets for large city areas as well as off-peak inter-city return tickets.
Mr Drew added that across Europe there were plenty of publicly-owned railways that worked efficiently and made profits to plough back into the service despite lower fares, adding there was “huge”support from the public for a publicly-owned railway.
Conservative Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said the fare increases has to be set in context with the number of people travelling by train.
“I would say at this particular time we should be looking at the investment that has been put into the rail network,” he said.
“More people are using the railway network, more than in the last ten years and it needs to be upgraded. There’s a cost to this.
Mr Carmichael said 880 miles of railway line had been installed in the last five years under the Coalition Government while during the previous Labour Government of 13 years only nine miles had been put down.
On nationalisation, he said it would be a “massive step in the wrong direction”, adding that investment “did not happen” when the railway network was publicly-owned.
“Nationalising a network this large and complex would cost so much money. Tax payers do not want to pay for something they already have,” he said.