20 November 2019 – today’s other press release

Today’s big story has been, of course, the manifesto. But there was another story today…

Lib Dems will freeze rail fares and fix broken ticketing system

The Liberal Democrats have announced bold plans to freeze rail fares for commuters and season ticket holders for the next five years, while fixing the broken fares and ticketing system.

A Liberal Democrat government would cancel the 2.8% rail fare increase planned for December 2018 and freeze commuter fares and season tickets for the entirety of the next five years.

These proposals would save season ticket holders across the UK thousands of pounds. Projected savings for individual season tickets (based on predicted RPI increases through to 2024/5) include:

  • Winchester to London: £2,349.19
  • St Albans to London: £1603
  • Stockport to Manchester: £326
  • Leamington Spa to Birmingham: £735

This policy is expected to cost approximately £1.6 billion.

The Liberal Democrats would overhaul ticketing by simplifying the system, create season tickets for part-time commuters and introducing early-bird fares. The party would ensure that all rail franchises apply delay repay compensation for delays of 15 minutes or more.

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor, said:

Under the Tories, hard-pressed commuters across the country have been catastrophically let down. People are paying way over the odds for what has often been an appalling service.

The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future by freezing fares for the next five years, saving hard-pressed commuters thousands of pounds. We will properly invest in fixing our creaking rail network to improve capacity and reduce overcrowding, so commuters are no longer treated like cattle.

But this is about more than just providing more funding. We will also strip rail companies of franchises if they don’t meet the standards expected of them, and develop new transport mutual companies to foster alternative competition.

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6 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 20th Nov '19 - 11:46pm

    Hm. This all looks a bit London-centric to me. If it means freezing regulated fares it should say so, not just for commuters. And if we want to fix the ticketing system, which is certainly essential, who is to say that season tickets as we know them will still exist in three or four years’ time, let alone five?

  • Mick Taylor 21st Nov '19 - 7:11am

    I think you meant December 2019, unless we have found a Tardis!

  • Well done, an actual policy that addresses a real problem rather than the more usual vague pronouncements. Energy company standing charges should similarly be abolished as they penalize low users in direct contradiction of Green ideals.

  • nvelope2003 21st Nov '19 - 2:46pm

    Keeping fares down was tried in the 1950s to keep commuters voting Conservative. Unfortunately all the money needed for investment in an out dated system went to subsidising fares just to keep the railways running, which lead eventually to the Beeching closures because there was no money to modernise anything but a skeleton network. Is that what you want ?
    TfL has not been allowed to increase single fares but increases are happening on season tickets. Not surprisingly many people do not buy season tickets. The losses have reached £700 million.

  • Peter Hirst 21st Nov '19 - 5:12pm

    The key things are to increase rail passenger capacity and keep fares affordable and if the only way that can be done is by postponing HS2, so be it. Seeing Royal Mail vans and other huge lorries on our motorways dismays me. We need to invest in public transport to the same extent as our hospitals and schools.

  • nvelope2003 22nd Nov '19 - 5:26pm

    £1.6 billion could buy quite a lot of improvements to the railways which would make them more attractive to the potential users. There are still important routes which were reduced from double track to single track in the Beeching era which need to be upgraded to make the service attractive by introducing faster and more frequent services than can be provided with the limited capacity at present available. Just imagine having to wait at a passing loop everyday on your way to work or be unable to use the service because a train cannot be provided at the time you need it. Things like that can make all the difference and attract more users. Of course you might be able to cut costs but that has never happened under Government control, except to cut the level of service or close the line.
    The £250 million needed to improve 5 miles of road or the planned £1 billion required to build a 2 mile road tunnel could be used to make quite a lot of improvements but it will not happen without a change of attitude.

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