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Fair Fares Now

Roads to Nowhere

Poll shows only 14% of people think charging more for busier trains is fair

8 March 2012
As the Government launches its rail fares review, a new poll shows only 14 per cent of people believe that raising fares on the busiest trains at a higher rate than other services is fair, whilst 63 per cent think the proposal is unfair for all passengers, even if it meant lower fares on some less busy services.

The online poll was conducted by YouGov for Campaign for Better Transport ahead of the Government’s full rail fares and ticketing review. It asked people what they thought about proposals expected to be part of the Government fares consultation that would allow train companies to raise fares on the busiest services, for instance those used by commuters to arrive at work at 9am or inter-city trains on Friday evenings, at a higher level than the overall fares increase.

Using fares to manage demand on the busiest trains was one of the recommendations of the McNulty Rail Value for Money study published last year. The Government is responding to the McNulty study through the fares review and an accompanying Command Paper which will set out reforms to the way that the railways are run. With rail fares already set to rise 3 per cent above inflation in 2013 and 2014, and up to 8 per cent above inflation in some areas, travellers on peak services would see even steeper rises under these proposals.

Sophie Allain, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner, said: “Holding passengers to ransom, who have no choice about when they travel because they are simply travelling to work, is plainly unfair and our poll shows people agree. Fares are already too high and pricing people off the railways still further is no answer to overcrowding. What we need is more flexible tickets and more capacity.”

People can take part in the fares review by tweeting the Department for Transport using #farefail or through the Fair Fares Now website.

Notes to Editors

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2031 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22 and 24 February 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Respondents were asked “The amount that most rail fares rise each year is regulated by the Government. It has been proposed that train operating companies should be allowed to vary the amount that fares are increased by, so that the busiest services, for instance those used by commuters to arrive at work at 9am or inter-city trains on Friday evenings, will rise at a higher level than the overall increase. Some less busy services could see lower fare rises to balance this. Thinking specifically about the proposal, how fair or unfair do you think it is to all passengers to vary the amount that fares are increased by?”

2. One of the recommendations of the McNulty Rail Value for Money study was: ‘The DfT to undertake a full review of fares policy and structures, aiming to move towards a system that is seen to be less complex and more equitable, and which also aids the management of peak demand and the more efficient matching of demand with capacity. The study’s recommendations envisage some re-balancing of fares but no overall increase’ (page 12 http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/report-of-the-rail-vfm-study/realising-the-potential-of-gb-rail-summary.pdf).

3. Campaign for Better Transport launched the Fair Fares Now campaign in January 2011 to call for cheaper, simpler, fairer rail ticketing. Visit the website for more information www.fairfaresnow.org.uk.

4. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).