Wednesday, 17 August 2011

RAIL FARES FIASCO

Kent Green Party strongly opposes the massive rail fare increases now planned for early next year. Steve Dawe comments:

“Under the Government’s chosen formula(1), Kent and Medway’s rail fares will rise by a minimum of 8% in January. Some routes may have fare increases of up to 13%. Since the UK has the highest rail fares in the world, and the highest rail fares in the UK are here in Kent, we are all entitled to ask why Kent residents should be bearing this burden.

“Decades of under-investment have left a legacy of poor quality track and signalling and points that are not fully weather-proofed. Rail commuters are experiencing low or no pay increases just as much as any other group in our society. They are penalised for doing the right thing: staying off Kent’s congested and polluted roads.

“The Government is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Per capita emissions in Kent stand at about 8.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide of which 2.5 tonnes is transport use. Of this, about 30% is road transport. Government targets mean a reduction of 80% in these emissions in Kent by 2050 (2).

“This is already made very difficult by the perverse and inadequate Local Transport Plan of Kent County Council(3). But clear discrimination against people in Kent on rail fares is ridiculous and indefensible. We agree with Kent’s MPs, many of whom want South Eastern stripped of its rail franchise, but this is not enough. Our rail fares must come down.”

Ends c249 words

FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY, on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe for Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. KENT GREEN NEWS, monthly free ezine from Kent Green Party, is available at www.kentgreenparty.org

Notes:

1. Retail price inflation plus 3% meaning 5% plus 3% meaning a minimum of 8% rail fare increases next January.

2. 2. Halcrow for Sustrans and Friends of the Earth – Moving Towards Smarter Travel, August 2011, p.28: http://www.foe.co.uk/news/green_transport_32104.html

3. 3. See Kent Green Party critique at www.kentgreenparty.org under Publications.

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