Friday, 22 May 2009

KENT RAIL TRAVELLERS 'RIPPED OFF'

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 22nd May 2009 - 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - www.kentgreenparty.org 0845 257 4236 – 01732 355185 – Mobile: 079444 71083



KENT RAIL TRAVELLERS ‘RIPPED OFF’

Dr Hazel Dawe condemns the massive increase in the minimum Network card fare from £10.00 to £13.00 (1). Off peak rail users are now being penalized for rail use. She comments:

“After a 40% increase in rail passengers over the last 10 years(2), you would think that rail fares could reflect the need to reduce road traffic – to reduce congestion and cut emissions that add to global warming. Instead, faced by the progressive removal of Government investment, rail operating companies have imposed a massive increase in fares on off peak users.

“In France, roughly 75% of the cost of running the railways is provided by State investment. This maintains railway employment and saves resources which would otherwise be diverted to the upkeep or creation of roads. In the UK roughly 75% has to be financed from fares income and the Government expects railway operating companies to be paying for their franchises before the end of their contracts.
“This policy conflicts with Government policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as it will encourage people to use their cars to avoid rising rail fares. This is an exercise in ripping off consumers and a classic example of the lack of joined up thinking in the current Government.

The Government should support the railways and stop major new road building in Kent. We need more investment in passenger services, which are overcrowded. We need investment to accommodate more freight movements to get heavy goods vehicles off our congested roads.”

Ends 240 words
FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair, Kent Green Party, on 01732 355185 or 079444 71083. Contact address as above. Hazel Dawe is on the Green Party’s South East Region list for the European Elections.

Notes:
1. From Sunday 17th May, imposed by the Association of Train Operating Companies.
2. Mike Gibson, South Eastern Public Affairs Manager, speaking to the Tonbridge Line Commuters Annual General Meeting, 19th May 2009

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