Bexhill and Battle MP calls for rail fare review

Mr Merriman speaking in Parliament. File photo SUS-190716-160503001
Mr Merriman speaking in Parliament. File photo SUS-190716-160503001

A decision to increase rail fares by 2.8 per cent from next January has been criticised by the area’s MP.

Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, said the increased fare is calculated using the July Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation.

The MP has called for the fare increase to be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate which would lower the increase by almost one per cent.

Mr Merriman, a member of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, said: “Given that it takes almost two hours to get to London from Bexhill, these increases are not justified.

“While earnings are now rising faster than inflation, this will cause pressure for hard-pressed rail passengers who struggle to pay their bills.

“Last year, the Government called on the industry and unions to adopt the CPI measure of inflation when setting fares.

“Many pay awards in the public sector are calculated using this method but the rail unions refused to agree. With salaries accounting for a third of a train operator’s costs, passengers are left with a higher fare increase to cover rail pay rises.

“It’s time for the rail industry to modernise, embrace technology and pass on the benefits to passengers in the form of lower prices.

“We have an opportunity to change the game for rail travel and make the pricing structure fairer and more transparent.”

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