People in Medway are facing the biggest fares rise in five years after the release of July’s inflation figures, which are used to set fares for the following year.
With the retail prices index running at 3.6%, but wage inflation stuck, it is another real-terms pay cut for workers who commute by rail.
Research by rail union the RMT found that fares have risen twice as fast as wages since 2010; 32% for rail tickets against 16% for average weekly pay over the same period.
Cllr Andy Stamp, Medway Labour Group Spokesman for Regeneration said:
‘Despite forking out more for their tickets, it?s the same second-rate service being delivered for Medway commuters.
‘People across Medway are at risk of travel poverty ? unable to afford up to almost ?6,000 a year* for the season ticket they need to get to work.’
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Group Leader, said: ?People in Medway should not be forced to give up an even bigger proportion of their hard-earned cash to greedy rail
operators simply to get to work and home again.
‘This shows the need for publicly owned rail services, run for the people, not for the benefit of shareholders has never been greater.’
Andy McDonald MP, Labour?s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said:
‘With rail fares soaring ahead of wage growth, the Government simply can?t justify allowing passengers to be ripped-off under privatised rail.
‘It is outrageous that UK commuters pay over the odds in order to subsidise travel in France, Germany, Holland and Italy and generate huge profits for private train companies. The Tories ought to be standing up for the interests of the travelling public rather than the private and foreign state-owned companies who run our railways.
‘The Retail Price Index (RPI) should be scrapped as the measure for increases and replaced with the lower Consumer Price Index. Labour will stop fares from rising above inflation and take our rail back into public ownership to improve services and keep fares down.’
*The cost of a season ticket refers to a ticket from Rainham including HS1 and Zones 1-6 Travelcard which currently costs ?5,700 and will rise to ?5,905.20.