Press release 15th August 2020

Time for a rail fare freeze

Wednesday sees the release of July’s inflation figures, which are usually used to set next January’s ticket price increase. But rail campaigners are calling for a freeze.

“The COVID pandemic has had a severe impact on the industry, with passenger numbers way down. The last thing we need is yet another deterrent to travel by train.” said Bruce Williamson from the campaign group Railfuture. “The world has changed, and many people have discovered that they don’t need to travel every day any more, so a fares increase is going to result in lower ticket sales. More than ever there needs to be 0% increase in January.

It’s very important that the government sends a signal that they want people to use trains. If it can find money for me to get £10 off at Burger King, then it can afford to freeze rail fares.

The government pays lip service to the green agenda, but we’ve yet to see any evidence that they’re prepared to do anything to tempt travellers out of their cars. If the fuel duty escalator can be frozen for motorists, budget after budget, in a supposedly decarbonising world, what about the annual rail fare escalator being frozen too?”

We don’t want our cities to be like in the US, dominated by cars, so the government must ensure that people are attracted back to rail, both for commuting and leisure. This means not just price, but flexibility too, and smart tickets and flexible seasons would help to smooth out the peaks so that there is less overcrowding.

Cities are dependent on public transport, and if people are not attracted to travel to the city centres to work or spend money there, then city centre economies will die and many service and support jobs will be lost too.”

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk