In his speech today Ed Miliband MP, leader of the Labour Party, commented on the increase in rail fares:
“This month, some are going up by as much as 11%. Next year and the year after, some are going to go up by as much as 13%.
“Some train companies have jacked up prices so much that some season tickets are now a fifth of the average salary in this country.
“And what are the Government doing about it? Nothing.
“They are afraid to take on the train companies. In fact they are making it worse. Just ask a commuter coming into London from Basildon or Basingstoke.
“The Government are giving the train companies more freedom to rig the system of fares, so that the busiest routes get the biggest fare increases. That’s got to change.
“I’d make sure the rail companies followed a really simple rule.
“The limit for fare increases should apply to every regulated train fare, not just the routes fewer people use.”
In response to Ed Miliband’s comments, a spokesperson for the Association of Train Operating Companies said:
“The average rise in season tickets is set by the government under a policy introduced by Labour in 2004 to reduce taxpayer subsidy to the railways.
“Train companies are subject to rules that were created and rigorously implemented by successive Labour transport secretaries.
“Within this highly regulated system, operators can vary the price of individual season tickets but it is misleading for Ed Miliband to suggest that they can put all the highest rises on the busiest routes.
“For more than a decade, train companies and the Government have worked together successfully to attract record numbers of passengers to the railways.
“There is always more that can be done, but a booming rail industry is good news for the economy at a time when the country needs the private sector to boost growth.”