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Liberal Democrat News 12 October 2012

October 12, 2012 12:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Baker keeps down rail fares

The rise in rail fares for the next two years will be lower than expected, thanks to the Liberal Democrats commitment to fair pricing for passengers.

The reduction, which will be funded from the Department for Transport's budget, will benefit millions of commuters and passengers who use the rail network. Transport Minister Norman Baker said:

"The Lib Dems have been making the case for a fair deal for passengers for years, and bringing fares down is the main thing I've been fighting for. But until the public finances are in a state that lets us do that, my priority is to keep increases as low as possible."

Rail fares increases are set annually by reference to inflation, measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI). From the New Year, rail fares were due to increase, on average, by RPI plus three per cent but this rise will now be RPI plus one per cent. The announcement will benefit more than a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders and thousands of monthly and weekly ticket holders. For some season tickets holders, the news will result in a saving of up to £200 over the next two years.

The reduction in the planned increase for 2013 and 2014 is good news for rail users. Norman added:

"I know that passengers are feeling the pinch at the moment. This announcement will make life that little bit easier for hundreds of thousands of rail users and I am pleased that Lib Dems in government are driving these changes."

Keeping fare increases low whilst boosting investment in a sustainable railway is a balancing act on which Liberal Democrats have a growing track record in government. The biggest rail modernisation programme since the Victorian era is now underway and will benefit millions of rail passengers.

Recent commitments to High Speed 2, electrifying huge swathes of the rail network, completion of the Northern Hub and some 1,200 new rolling stock for the Thameslink line are some examples of the improvements which Liberal Democrats in government have been pushing for. This investment will stimulate growth and create a cleaner, low carbon transport system for years to come.

Liberal Democrats are committed to ensuring that the billions of pounds worth of improvements badly needed are paid for fairly.

"As Liberal Democrats, we need to spread the word that we are absolutely committed to ensuring the travelling public are not unfairly saddled with the cost of backfilling for years of underinvestment in the rail network,"

added Norman.

"The burden has to be shared fairly between passengers and the railway companies."