MP Iain says Labour campaign against Super Peak rail fares is scaremongering

Iain Stewart
Iain Stewart

MP Iain Stewart has hit back at claims commuters could soon face a steep rise in train fares.

Government plans could see a 40 per cent Super Peak fares increase, raising the cost of tickets on the most popular services.

The plans would see fares increased on peak time trains, many of which are commuters only option, in a bid to spread congestion. The aim is to stop expensive but empty trains leaving stations while commuters wait for overcrowded but cheaper ones.

Yesterday, Labour parliamentary spokesman for Milton Keynes South, Andrew Pakes, joined other Labour campaigners at stations across the city to give out leaflets to passengers about the potential changes.

He said: “Milton Keynes already has some of the most crowded trains in the country, and now the Government is considering charging passengers even more. Regular commuters are already paying thousands for a season ticket. Following the £40 million shambles of the West Coast Mainline franchise, Ministers should have more humility and listen to the concerns of rail passengers and rule these new fares out now.”

Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, added: “At a time when transport costs are rising and people across the country are facing a real squeeze, commuters paying thousands for a season ticket should not be forced off peak-time trains.”

However, Mr Stewart was quick to hit back at the claims saying no decisions had been made and that he would do what he could to protect those using peak hour services.

He said: “This is scaremongering from Labour. It is also hypocritical given the huge increase in rail fares that happened when they were in power.

“The Government is reviewing the whole ticketing system for the railways and we are awaiting their proposal which is due in the next few months. It is an issue that I have looked at extensively through my work on the Transport Committee.

“The purpose of the review is to have a ticketing system that provide a much broader range of tickets for passengers, with incentives for cheaper travel on less busy trains.

“There are also plans to introduce new products such as a discounted season ticket for people who travel regularly but not every day. That will benefit many commuters in Milton Keynes. I do not wish to see passengers who have to use peak hour services penalised.”

The cost of an annual ticket between Milton Keynes Central and London Euston is currently £4,620. The increase would see it rise to £6,006.

> The Government announced today that Virgin Trains would run the West Coast mainline until 2017, an extra two years on top of their current deal.