Thousands of rail union activists and transport campaigners have joined forces across the UK to call for an end to the fare-pricing system which allows operators to increase rail fares far above the rate of inflation. (Pictured: protest at Waterloo sta …

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Thousands of rail union activists and transport campaigners have joined forces across the UK to call for an end to the fare-pricing system which allows operators to increase rail fares far above the rate of inflation.

(Pictured: protest at Waterloo station, London)

Unions, transport campaigners and rail passenger groups have launched a day of action at several stations in London to protest at “massive” fare increases and cuts to jobs and services.

According to the TSSA, commuters could be faced with season tickets as high as £5000 a year.

It says people travelling into London from the Home Counties will have to pay more than £100 a week.

TSSA national organiser, John Page, told UnionNews: “The 3% increase above inflation is a tax on rail users.

“If we want to have a successful economy, we need an effective rail system where people can get to work and afford to get to work.

“What the government is doing is pricing people off the railway and it’s going to add to the pressures pushing the economy into recession.”

Protests have taken place at more than 40 stations, including Waterloo, Euston and Kings Cross in London, Birmingham New Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Liverpool Lime Street, Crewe, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.

It comes as the government is allowing train firms to raise fares by 3% more than RPI inflation from January, based on July’s inflation figure, which is published today.

Rail unions have warned that some fares could jump by 11% from the New Year, while most rush-hour travel, season tickets and off-peak fares will rise by well above the rate of inflation.

At Waterloo, protesters handed out leaflets, in the shape of train tickets, urging passengers to take action against rising fares and cuts to jobs and services.

Campaigners on behalf of disabled people joined the protest.

RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, told UnionNews: “some people have to pay 155 of their wages to get to and from work. We think that’s a scandal.

“The government’s giving all these billions in quantitative easing, how about easing the commuter’s plight by puting money into the railways to stop the fare increases?”

Lianna Etkind, of Transport For All, said: “Disabled people are already excluded from using public transport, and higher fares just makes matters worse.

“Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be living in a poorer household, so will be much more affected by rising fares.”

Campaigners said commuters to London were routinely spending up to 15% of their salary on getting to work. By 2015, this will create a series of “£1,000 towns” – places where commuters will see the cost of their annual season ticket rise by more than £1,000 between 2011 and 2015.

 


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