Monday, 3 March 2008

CUTTING RAIL SERVICES - PART OF A PATTERN

KENTPRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday 3rd March 2008 - 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - www.kentgreenparty.org 0845 257 4236 – 01732 355185 – Mobile: 07747 036192
CUTTING RAIL SERVICES
Plans by Southern Railways to cut rail services on the Tonbridge to Redhill line in December 2008 are part of a pattern. Generally, rail fares have been allowed to rise above the rate of inflation and services are being continually reduced. Despite increases in rail passengers, the Government is continuing to subsidise private car use by about £13-14 billion a year, whilst making rail use cost more each year. Under-investment in rail makes a mockery of the Government’s claimed climate change policies. Steve Dawe comments:
“Cutting services between Tonbridge and Redhill will mean avoiding London for trips to Reading or Oxford will become far more difficult. It will mean school children using the line on a daily basis in term time will not have the train services they need. Also, our area’s many rail commuters face a decade of waiting for new rail infrastructure due to irresponsible delays by Government: Thameslink 2000 (due for completion before end 2015); Crossrail (to be completed by 2017); over 1000 extra carriages, long needed to address over-crowding in rush hours (for delivery throughout the next decade).
“An average car is emitting about 2.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, based on 10,000 miles of travel. Since there are now over 32 million vehicles on UK roads[1] it is impossible to contemplate serving continuing growth through road building at £1000 per inch of road or £300 million per mile of motorway. Traffic reduction is the most effective goal which can be attempted if the aim is to deal with emissions, cut noise and cut air pollution.
“For traffic reduction to succeed, we need better rail services, not deliberate reductions in services and punitive fare increases. However, they have also been undermined by relative pricing: the overall cost of private motoring is the same in real terms as in about 1980 whilst bus, coach and rail fares taken together show a 37% increase in real terms 1980 to the present.[2]” ENDS
FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above.

[1] Robin McKie – Ten steps to success The Observer in association with the Carbon Trust, 9th December 2007.
[2] Kent Local Transport Plan, Congestion section.

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