THE Labour Party says it would cut regulated rail fares by 33 per cent if it gains power after the general election, and claims that the ‘average’ commuter would save £1,097 a year.
Season tickets would also be updated to allow part-time travel, and the basis for rail tariffs nationally would be converted a ‘simple, London-style ticketing system’.
Labour said it would guarantee ‘fair fares’ for part time workers by ensuring that workers who commute fewer than five days a week pay no more for each journey than full-time workers who use weekly season tickets – meaning that part-time workers who presently buy seven-day seasons or pay day by day by buying Anytime tickets will see their fares cut by more than a third.
Contactless payments and zonal rail fares will also become the standard everywhere, while passengers who are up to 16 years old will no longer have to pay.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Travelling by train is my favourite way of getting around the country but for too long a fragmented and privatised rail system has ripped-off passengers.
‘Taking back control of our railways is the only way to bring down fares and create a railway network that is fit for the future. Labour will bring about real change on the railways because we are on the side of passengers.’
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: ‘Privatisation has created one of the most complex, exploitative and expensive ticketing systems in the world. Labour will scrap the bewildering and outdated fares and ticketing system that discriminates against part-time workers, discourages rail travel and excludes the young and low paid.’
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘This move will be cheered up and down the land, before breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will come as a massive boost for millions of passengers of all ages, and types of work.
‘It’s the mark of real change being offered by a Labour Party fully on the side of those using our railways, who for too long have suffered a shoddy, fragmented, privatised service.’
Labour has unveiled its proposals only a day after the January fare increase for regulated fares had been confirmed as 2.8 per cent, or 2.7 per cent when all fares are taken into account.
Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer, speaking after January’s rises had been confirmed, said: ‘We understand that no one wants to pay more to travel, which is why train companies have for the third year in a row held the average fare increases below inflation while still investing to improve journeys. Passengers will benefit from 1,000 extra, improved train carriages and over 1,000 extra weekly services in 2020.’