Posted 13th April 2015 | No Comments

Labour pledges fares freeze next year


THE Labour Party has published its manifesto, and it includes plans to reform the way the railway industry is organised.

Key points include a review of passenger rail franchises as well as the creation of a 'new National Rail body' which will 'oversee and plan for the railways and give rail users a greater say in how trains operate'.

Labour also says: "We will continue to support the construction of High Speed Two, but keep costs down, and take action to improve and expand rail links across the North to boost its regional economies."

The law will be changed to allow a public sector operator to compete for franchises, while rail fares will be frozen in 2016. It adds: 'A strict fare rise cap will be introduced on every route for any future fare rises, and a new legal right for passengers will be created to access the cheapest ticket for their journey'.

The party says: "Labour will reform our transport system in order to provide more public control and put the public interest first."

After the manifesto was published, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a missed opportunity by Labour to engage with the 70 per cent of the British public who support rail being taken directly into public ownership.  The half-way house of a public sector competitor is wholly unconvincing and shows a real lack of courage and ambition which is what millions of voters are looking for in this election.

“If the hundreds of millions drained out of the rail network by privatisation were to be brought back into play we could pay for much needed service investments and cut fares in a policy package that would be welcome on rail services the length and breadth of the country.”