Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bus, tube and train fares surge upwards

COMMUTERS in London and throughout the country are facing above inflation-level increases in fares on just about all forms of public transport.
Train travellers are angry at rises of up to nine per cent on unregulated fares and up to 3.9 percent on regulated fares (season and saver tickets).
Passenger groups complain that services are not improving as fares rise. Trains are still unreliable and often very overcrowded.
The Rail Passengers’ Council said: “We have had loads of complaints. People are really worried about the massive price rises made by all the train companies. For lots of passengers forced to travel to work at peak times, these new price hikes will make the train unaffordable.
“At the moment people do not think they get value for their money. They see no benefits for the price they pay. Commuters are facing a monopoly where they have no choice but to travel with certain companies at certain times.” shamelessly
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, also criticised the private train companies. “The train operators are shamelessly using their route monopolies to maximise revenues and profits on premium routes.”
Londoners face even bigger rises for bus and tube fares. The price of a single journey by tube in central London has risen by 50 per cent to £3 while the cost of a single bus journey in London has risen to £1.50.
London mayor Ken Livingstone says the price rises are intended to encourage Londoners to get Oyster travel cards which give discounted fares. But even on these the discounted single bus journey fare is now £1 – a 25 per cent rise from 80 pence last year.
And weekly bus passes – which can be included on an Oyster card – have risen by nearly 25 per cent from £11 a week to £13.50. These increased travel costs will hit hardest those on the lowest incomes who cannot afford to travel any other way.
There is great resentment as many feel that the poorest Londoners are being taxed in this way to fund the 2012 Olympics – which will be of no benefit to them at all as they will be unable to afford the entry price to the events and will face only increased disruption, increased prices and congestion during the Olympics.