Rail protesters gather at city station - The Worcester Observer

Rail protesters gather at city station

Worcester Editorial 6th Jan, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

PROTESTERS gathered outside a city centre train station to vent their frustration at rising fares.

Calls were made to return the country’s railways to public ownership as people rallied outside Foregate Street Station between 7am and 9am on Monday (January 5).

Prices were hiked again by an average of 2.2 per cent last Friday (January 2), re-establishing Britain as having the most expensive fares in Europe as well as ‘the most fragmented service’.

Mike Cross, delegate of Worcester Trades Union Council, was one of the protesters outside Foregate Street.

“We are all affected by this,” he said.

“We are affected as tax payers because we get a very poor deal and we are affected as passengers because we have expensive fares and overcrowded trains.

“I think it is a policy that the mainstream political parties do not want to discuss because although our case is overwhelming I think it would lead to other cases coming to light such as water and electricity and they don’t want to go down those roads.”

The protests have been supported by various organisations which include the Green party, Action for Rail, the People’s Assembly, Bring Back British Rail, Compass, Campaign against Climate Change and We Own It.

Louis Stephen, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Worcester, added: “The UK has some of the most expensive rail fares in Europe.

“The ticket costs are going up every year. The trains are dirty and overcrowded. Competition makes no sense on railways, we need the network and ticketing systems to work together, not in competition.

“Considering that a recent YouGov poll found 66 per cent of the population were in favour of re-nationalising, I am surprised it is only the Green Party that has made this a firm commitment for the forthcoming General Election.”

The Green Party will present the bill calling for public ownership of railways on Friday (January 9).

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group representing rail operators and Network Rail, said: “At 2.2 per cent the average increase in fares in 2015 is the lowest for five years.

“We understand no one likes to pay more, especially to go to work. For every pound spent on fares, 97 pence goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3 pence goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe’s fastest growing railway.

“We are very sorry that many passengers experienced a service well short of what they deserved last weekend. To ensure we build a better railway, Network Rail is spending £38 billion over five years alongside commitments made by train companies.

“This will deliver more seats, better stations and improved journeys for passengers.”

Reader Travel

Check out all of the latest reader travel offers to get your hands on some free gifts.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Worcester Observer.

Public Notices

View and download all of the public notices in the Worcester Observer.


Advertise with the Worcester Observer to reach your audience