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Henry Vann calls for rail fare freeze as shocking increases are announced

November 22, 2008 12:57 PM

On the day that Bedford's rail users were hit by news of spiralling fare increases for January 2009, Henry Vann has demanded a freeze on rail fares and called for the planned fares increases to be abandoned.

With the rail companies which run services from Bedford set to increase fares by up to 9% in January, the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to demand a one year freeze of these fares to help struggling families during the economic crisis. The cost to the train operators will be funded by cutting the budget for major road building schemes.

Commenting, Bedford and Kempston Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner, Henry Vann, said: "Local residents who rely on trains for their livelihoods are facing huge fare increases at a time when they are also struggling to cope with rising food and heating bills. Freezing fares for commuters would give a huge boost to many hard-pressed local families.

"The above inflation fare increases planned by both East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect show no consideration for the fact that rail travellers who use Bedford station already pay extremely high fares. The Government must take action to halt these unjustified price hikes. If they don't, people will continue to be forced off the trains and into their cars by unacceptable ticket prices at a time when we need to reduce congestion and the environmental impact of travel.

"The cost of rail fares has risen above inflation by 6% since this Government came to power, while under Labour the cost of motoring has actually fallen in real terms by 10%. Just as the Government has repeatedly frozen fuel duty for motorists in response to external circumstances, now it must also take steps which will help Bedford's beleaguered rail users."