Thousands sign Virgin train petition

CMK Train Station
CMK Train Station
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RAIL prices could go up by more than eight per cent on the West Coast Main Line.

That is the view of Andrew Pakes, Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary spokesman for Milton Keynes.

More than 150,000 people have signed an e-petition urging the Government to rethink changing rail providers.

Mr Pakes said: “This is not people defending Virgin’s quality of service. This shows the depth of frustration of the handling of the whole affair.

“The successful bidder has been told they can raise fares by eight per cent plus RPI.”

Mr Pakes is urging the Government not to rush as this will be the first franchise under new rules which will see them sign a 15-year contract.

He said: “If they get it wrong it will be around for a long time. People need a cast iron guarantee, whichever company takes over they will not walk away early.”

Iain Stewart, who serves as a member of the Transport Select Committee and MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “Each of the four bids is anonymised so that Ministers and senior officials at the Department for Transport are not aware of which bid has been submitted by which company when the merits of each bid are being assessed.

“On the face of it, the FirstGroup’s bid looks like being good news for Milton Keynes passengers. They are promising more trains which will stop at Milton Keynes, a refurbishment and lengthening of existing trains and a reduction in walk on fares. However, I have set up a meeting to quiz them on their plans in greater detail, and satisfy myself their plans are robust.”