NEW RAIL fare increases this month have been criticised by Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams as North West commuters are paying out 22.6 per cent more on average than in 2010.
Mrs Abrahams lambasted the government over the abolition of evening off-peak fares at Greenfield train station and their decision to ‘modernise’ the 30-year-old Pacer trains rather than replace them.
She said: “I am left deeply concerned about how the Department for Transport is treating the North of England, and my constituents, with the recent news that Pacer carriages will not be replaced; Greenfield will not have full disabled access installed when electrification is finished; the abolition of off-peak fares and, now, another rail fare increase.
“The Government’s rhetoric about improving connectivity across the north, and creating a world-class rail network, is not matched by their actions.
“And when Ministers talk about ‘fair fares for comfortable commuting’ it’s just insulting. They must live a world away from the reality facing millions of rail users every day.”
She continued: “The Tories and Lib Dems have simply failed to stand up for the working people of Oldham, Saddleworth, and the North West region, who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
“In some areas commuters on an average wage could be paying 17 per cent of their income just on getting to and from work (according to an article in The Guardian).
“We’ve seen a pitifully low level of investment in the rail system across the north so I share my constituents’ concerns that this extra revenue will end up in the pockets of shareholders rather than being ploughed into improvements in local rail services.”