RAIL fares are set to increase after a proposed cap on travel costs was voted down in the House of Commons.
A motion had been tabled by Labour calling on the Government to restore the cap on fare rises for the next two years, which was scrapped when the Conservatives came into power.
Andrew Pakes, Labour and Co-operative Parliamentary Spokesman for Milton Keynes, said he was disappointed with the outcome but more so with MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster who he felt had ‘chosen to support their party as opposed to the local needs of residents.’
Mr Pakes had met with Richard Parry, interim managing director of the First Group trains bid for West Coast Mainline, on Monday to question his plans for Milton Keynes.
The meeting came after Labour campaigners in Milton Keynes conducted a survey among rail passengers which found that 82 per cent thought tickets were too expensive, and 81 per cent thought a cap on fares was needed.
He said: “There is a consensus that yet another year of eye-watering fare rises is bad for passengers and our economy.
“I have been amazed at the depth of anger about another fares hike at a time when many people are already juggling higher living costs.
He added: “I was pleased to meet with First Group representatives to make clear the level of public concern about the change of franchise planned for December.
“There will be some improvements on the franchise but we need to keep a close on eye on plans for fare increases and any changes to staffing levels.”
One respondent to the Labour survey said: “It would be much better to spend money expanding the local infrastructure and ‘encouraging’ road freight onto the railways than spending it to reduce the London to Manchester time by a few minutes.”
Another added: “A more even ‘spread’ of Northbound services from Wolverton, for example not just 52 and 58 minutes; yet retaining the staggered departure times to/from London.
“A review of the £9+ fare between Wolverton & Northampton would also be good. It’s also important to note that the machines can’t offer the cheapest fare, start your trip from an alternative station or sell you a monthly season ticket.”