Government fails to rule out return to third class travel

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Third class rail travel, where passengers journey in the open air, might be making a comeback, the RMT has warned.

Abolished on Britain’s railways in June 1956, government refused to rule out its return when answering a question in the House of Lords last week.

Responding to a question from Lord Myners about whether invitations to bid for new rail franchises permitted the introduction of a third passenger class, Earl Attlee replied the current franchising system allows bidders to propose the introduction of a third passenger class as long as these proposals comply with the ticketing and settlement agreement and franchise agreement.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Now we know: the door is open for the train operators to introduce a third passenger class as and when it suits them. We knew that this government was winding the clock back on employment, benefit and legal rights but now they are opening up the option to dive back in time more than 50 years to the days of third class rail travel.

“On some overcrowded and de-staffed services, passengers could be forgiven for thinking they are already travelling third class as the train operators bleed them dry. While the Chancellor blags his way into first class without a ticket his Government are giving a green light to bring third class travel back in through the back door for the masses. What a shocking indictment of this rotten bunch running the country.”


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