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Harlow union activists rail against rail prices

Politics / Wed 20th Aug 2014 am31 09:52am

HARLOW TUC mounted a local “Action for Rail” protest at Harlow Town station on Tuesday morning (19 August) from 6am. They handed out 600 cards to highlight escalating rail fares and made the demand for a return to public ownership.

On 19 August the inflation figure used to calculate increases in regulated fares, like Off-Peak and Anytime Day tickets, were announced. The new fare prices will come into force in January 2015.

A spokesperson said: “Since 2008, fares have risen four times faster than average wages. Regulated fares would have risen even more this year, if the government hadn’t capitulated to public pressure to cap last year’s rise to inflation only, after several years of inflation-busting rises.

“In Europe, publicly owned railways have lower fares, are more efficient, and profits are reinvested back into the service. In Britain, publicly owned East Coast Main Line is a success story, and in 2013/14 returned £216m to the UK Treasury. In the five years since 2009, East Coast has returned over £1bn to the UK Treasury.

“For privatised rail services, it’s a different picture. We have the highest fares in Europe with profits extracted to pay shareholder dividends. In 2012/13 Northern Rail, Transpennine Express and Virgin alone paid almost £100m in dividends to shareholders after receiving over £1bn in public subsidy. Evidence shows that about £1.2bn per year is wasted due to privatisation, and if saved, this could fund an 18% cut in fares”

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